July 14, 2009
Speaking to delegates via a video address at the Pacific Microfinance Week that started in Nadi yesterday, Hon McMullan MP said that Australian Government’s Aid Programme (AusAID) was upscaling its involvement in the area of microfinance and over the next few years would double its microfinance budget from $10 million dollars to $20 million dollars a year.
“The beauty of microfinance is that it gives people opportunities that they are denied otherwise,” said Hon. McMullamMP.
He said that AusAID would continue to work with partners in the area of microfinance and would like to help improve financial literacy.
“Your countries still receive a lot of money in remittances – even though the global recession is slowing down the flow for the moment. It’s important that people know how to use formal systems to transfer money in the most cost-effective way. And more generally it’s important that people understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to banking and financial services,” he said.
“The United Nations Development Program is doing some excellent work in this area through the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme,” said Hon McMullam MP.
Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) is helping to provide sustainable financial services to low income households. It is funded by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and operates from the UNDP Pacific Centre.
Highlighting the work of PFIP today, Pacific Financial Inclusion Advisor Tillman Bruett said that financial literacy, sharing knowledge on microfinance, and empowering microfinance institutions and other like-minded organizations to better provide sustainable financial services are the priorities of PFIP.
PFIP works in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Samoa. The knowledge generated from the work in these countries will also be shared in other countries in the Pacific.