Washington, D.C. – The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) worked with the offices of key Congressional appropriators to encourage increased U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funding for microenterprise development and reinstatement of microenterprise development office funding, measures which were incorporated into the statement of managers for the omnibus appropriations bill that passed Saturday.
"The managers support microenterprise development programs for the poor, especially women, and urge USAID to achieve a level of $200,000,000 for these programs in fiscal year 2005," read the statement. "The managers also recommend $30,000,000 be available to USAID's Office of Microenterprise [Development] through a central funding or other appropriate mechanism for contracts, cooperative agreements and grants."
WOCCU's credit union development programs focus on strengthening the financial performance and increasing the outreach of credit unions so that more poor and low-income people have access to financial services, including savings, credit, remittances and insurance. The majority of WOCCU's development projects are funded by USAID under the heading of microenterprise development.
"Given the many strains on U.S. foreign assistance, WOCCU appreciates that the appropriators have recognized funding for microfinance as an important priority for development assistance. Key offices have understood that access to financial services is essential to stimulate economic growth at the community level around the world," said Anna Cora Evans, WOCCU development finance manager.
A separate bill, the Microenterprise Results and Accountability Act of 2004, is set to be taken up by Congress after the Thanksgiving holiday. House and Senate versions of that bill passed just last week.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.