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Resource Library / State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report 2005

Sam Daley-Harris

"The Millennium Development Goals can be met by 2015—but only if all involved break with business as usual and dramatically accelerate and scale up action now." -UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

Eight years before these words were printed in the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP’s) Human Development Report 2005, more than 2,900 people from 137 countries gathered in Washington, D.C., for the Microcredit Summit—a civil society-organized summit with a profound commitment to “break with business as usual and dramatically accelerate and scale up action.” Delegates to the 1997 Microcredit Summit launched an audacious campaign to reach 100 million of the world’s poorest families, especially the women of those families, with credit for self-employment and other financial and business services by the end of 2005. The Summit 1) broke with the tradition of excluding the poor from access to financial services, 2) broke with the tradition of excluding the poorest from international development, and 3) made a commitment to dramatically accelerating and scaling up action. This report outlines progress toward the 100 million poorest goal as well as barriers to reaching it. This Campaign offers much needed hope for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially the goal of cutting absolute poverty in half by 2015.

As of December 31, 2004, 3,164 microcredit2 institutions have reported reaching 92,270,289 clients, 66,614,871 of whom were among the poorest when they took their first loan. Of these poorest clients, 83.5 percent, or 55,622,406 million, are women. Seven hundred eighty-one of these institutions submitted an Institutional Action Plan in 2005. Together these 781 institutions account for 90 percent of the poorest clients reported. Assuming five persons per family, the 66.6 million poorest clients reached by the end of 2004 affected some 333 million family members.

In order to reach 100 million of the world’s poorest families by the end of 2005, the Campaign requires a 38.1 percent growth rate per year from its starting point of 7.6 million poorest families at the end of 1997. The Campaign’s overall growth of 776 percent between 1997 and 2004 now averages just over 36 percent per year.

This year, the Campaign was able to verify data from 330 institutions, representing 58,450,926 poorest families or 87.7 percent of the total poorest reported. A complete appendix of the institutions verified this year can be found in Appendix I.

Loans to 66.6 million poorest clients affect a total of 333 million people, including both clients and their family members. The 333 million people affected equal the combined populations of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Norway, but their lives are dramatically different from the lives of the citizens of those countries.

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