Madison, WI—The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently increased funding to the World Council of Credit Unions' Rural Savings and Credit Union Development Project in Uzbekistan by $1.4 million—bringing the total to $5.7 million—and extended the existing project to September 2008.
The change incorporates the introduction of agricultural equipment leasing services to four project-supported savings and credit unions.
As a first step, World Council and the Uzbekistan Credit Union Association successfully lobbied to amend the Credit Union Law to allow savings and credit unions to supply agricultural leasing services.
"Agricultural equipment leasing through credit unions is a strategic intervention to provide long-term agricultural finance without the typical collateral and contract enforcement problems," said Normunds Mizis, recent World Council project director for Uzbekistan.
World Council has been involved with credit union development in Uzbekistan since 1998. Its technical assistance and support led to the passage of credit union legislation in 2002. Today, 32 credit unions in 11 regions of the country—with a membership of nearly 50,000—belong to the national association that World Council helped model after those in Europe.
USAID administers the US foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.
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.