Major microfinance meet in Vanuatu next week


Financial experts from as far away as the United States, Turkey, Belgium, Jamaica, Indonesia as well as from around the Pacific Islands region will descend on the picturesque Le Lagon Resort in Port Vila, Vanuatu next week for the Pacific Microfinance Week 2011.<!--more-->

Hosted by the Microfinance Pasifika Network with funding from the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) and the International Finance Corporation, which is a division of the World Bank, the conference hopes to build on the achievements of the successful inaugural conference in Nadi, Fiji, in 2009.

The theme of next week’s conference, which runs from July 26 to 29, is “Partnerships and New Opportunities to Build a Brighter Financial Future” featuring a week full of events including meetings of a range of organisations and individuals interested in providing inclusive and sustainable financial services in the Pacific Islands region.

Having migrated to a monetised economy relatively recently in their histories, financial inclusion in the Pacific is an evolving field and there is much discussion around the region in developing suitable models for the provisioning of financial services especially at the grassroots level.

The 150 delegates assembling in Port Vila next week will have the opportunity to hear from experts’ experiences and success stories from around the world. The meet brings together representatives from microfinance institutions, development partners, commercial and central banks, learning institutions, government agencies and private companies from all around the pacific Islands region and beyond.

Microfinance has taken root in a number of Pacific Island countries in recent years, particularly in rural areas providing services to small trades and businesspeople, who find it difficult to access regular mainstream banking services. This is because of their geographical location and their inability to meet the minimum norms set by commercial banks for requirements such as the levels of collaterals.

Microfinance has often been hailed as a solution to business development financing at the grassroots level and has proved successful in many parts of the development world.

Vanuatu Reserve Bank Governor Odo Tevi will inaugurate the conference next week.

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