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Unitus Microcredit Loans

Lessons, impressions, and thoughts that I have about the powerful poverty-fighting tool of Microcredit and how Unitus is accelerating the growth of Microfinance around the globe.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Clinton Global Initiative

Last week, the Clinton Global Initiative was held in New York and in coming days, there will be exciting news about Unitus' involvment in the Initiative.

The Clinton Global Initiative is a non-partisan endeavor, bringing together a carefully selected group of the world’s best minds and most distinguished problem solvers to focus on practical, effective measures that can be taken now. These leaders - from a wide variety of political, ideological, religious, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds - include current and former heads of state, top business executives, preeminent scholars, and representatives of key non-governmental organizations. The Clinton Global Initiative coincides with the Millennium Summit of this fall’s U.N. General Assembly.

There were three sessions on Poverty. The three sessions on global poverty focused on "how best to marry our policies and resources to the dynamism of poor communities and the innovation of the market."

Here are summaries of the focus of the three sessions:

“The Critical Moment in the Fight against Poverty”

Speakers' line up (in alphabetical order):
Mr. Kemal Dervis, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme
Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President, African Development Bank
His Excellency Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa
Mr. Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union
The Honorable Paul Wolfowitz, President, World Bank Group

This session will focus on building new global commitments to increase aid, expand trade, and deepen debt relief. It will examine how aid can be increased and more effectively invested in building the capacity of the poor; it will identify specific policy changes that can unleash the power of trade to reduce poverty; and it will propose additional steps to ease the burden of debt. The Session will also address the fundamentals of a new partnership between the developed and developing worlds—particularly seeking to define ways that the pro-investment climate sought by the developed world can accompany the pro-development investment sought by the developing world.

“A Pro-Poor Investment Strategy”

Speakers' line up (in alphabetical order)
His Excellency Abdullah Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Mr. Ira Magaziner, Chairman, Clinton Foundation Policy Board; Chairman, Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative
Ms. Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO, Acumen Fund
Mr. Pierre Omidyar, Co-Founder and CEO, Omidyar Network; Founder and Chairman, eBay Inc.
Ms. Sonal Shah, Founder, Indicorps
Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Founder and Managing Director, Grameen Bank

This session will focus on how investment strategies can build on the entrepreneurial capital provided by the poor, harnessing the innovation derived from local knowledge and capitalizing on the dynamism of the market. Participants in this session will explore concrete examples of pro-poor business models that have successfully fostered and sustained entrepreneurial initiative; developed and sustained distribution mechanisms; measured long-term results; and lifted entire communities out of poverty. This session will also investigate the displays of political will—and muscle—that were required to break through the usual obstacles to success.

“Scaling Up and Protecting Investments”

Speakers' line up (in alphabetical order)
Mr. Peter Bakker, CEO, TNT N.V.
Dr. Wangari M. Maathai, MP, Founder, The Greenbelt Movement
Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University; Director, UN Millennium Project
Mr. Juan Somavia, Director General of the International Labor Organization
The Honorable Gene B. Sperling, Director of the Center for Universal Education, Council on Foreign Relations; Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Ms. Patty Stonesifer, Co-Chair and President, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

In this session, the focus will shift to how development successes can be brought to achieve maximum impact—in services, environmental protection, job creation, and the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Session will detail examples of successful development initiatives; highlight efforts to build national capacity; and consider how aid and market-based strategies can expand the reach of development efforts.

Keep posted for more news about this event and Unitus' involvement here!


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