Thousands of poor Timorese to benefit from UN-backed small business loans

18 April 2008
Programme will help low-income earners  to develop tais weaving, handcrafts, agricultural projects businesses

A new initiative launched today by the United Nations and the Government of Timor-Leste aims to provide small business loans to thousands of low-income people in the tiny nation, which is grappling with a number of challenges including widespread poverty and unemployment.

A new initiative launched today by the United Nations and the Government of Timor-Leste aims to provide small business loans to thousands of low-income people in the tiny nation, which is grappling with a number of challenges including widespread poverty and unemployment.

The $5 million INFUSE programme will provide access to finance for economically disadvantaged people in 13 districts across the country, which the UN helped shepherd to independence in 2002.

“Long-term and sustainable peace in Timor-Leste depends upon increasing peoples' access to finance,” said Finn Reske-Nielsen, Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

He noted that the programme, administered by UNDP, the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the Ministry of Economy and Development, will provide loans to people who would otherwise fail to qualify, due to a lack of collateral.

“Linking the need for funds with a sound business proposal will assist development for some of those who most need it,” Mr. Reske-Nielsen said.

Minister of Economy and Development Joao Goncalves added that INFUSE will work with existing financial service providers who will in turn increase their micro-loan portfolios and expand their reach.

Meanwhile, Prince Albert of Monaco arrived today in Timor-Leste, where he will be opening a maternity clinic built with funding provided by his Government in the regional town of Same.

 

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