Vatican conference encourages micro-credit for 3rd World development
Vatican , February, 28 2006 -
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace organized a two-day conference in Rome to encourage the development of "micro-credit" as a means of stimulating economic development in needy countries.
Inaugurating the conference on Feb 27, Cardinal Renato Martino the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said that the Vatican hoped to stimulate recognition that micro-credit can be "an efficient instrument in the struggle against poverty," although he added that other steps would be necessary. About 100 experts-- including politicians and businessmen , as well as financiers, representing 30 different countries, are participating in the conference that concludes Feb 28. The goal of the meeting is to analyse different forms of finance, including micro-credit, as methods of supporting innovation and growth in developing societies.
Last October, during an address to a UN session on the status of women, Archbishop Celestino Migliore observed that micro-credit has been extremely beneficial in helping women to build small enterprises. The Vatican's UN envoy had noted that women account for 60% of the world's impoverished workers, and lifting women out of poverty could lead very quickly to improvement in living conditions for their families. Archbishop Migliore said that Church institutions have been setting up micro-credit programs serving women in several needy countries, including Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovia, and countries of the Caribbean.