NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Microloans Helping World's Poor Toward Entrepreneurship

October 10, 2001

In many parts of the world it doesn't take much money to transform a poor person into a self-sustaining entrepreneur. In fact, as little as $40 in seed money will often do the trick.

Programs to advance microloans to would-be businesspeople are growing swiftly and their successes often astonish the experts.

An international coalition of microlending agencies, known as the Microcredit Summit Campaign, reports that:

  • Since it began an effort in 1997 to reach 100 million of the world's poorest families by 2005, it has already reached about 19.3 million families.
  • Loans to the world's poorest people are increasing by about 37 percent a year.
  • A total of 13.8 million people have been granted loans in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America -- and loans are also made in the U.S.

Two recent studies showed that Microcredit clients in Mali and Honduras were more likely than nonclients to have larger businesses, to see an increase in personal income and food consumption, to have personal savings and to feel a greater sense of self-esteem.

Source: Ginger Thompson, "Small Loans Help Millions of World's Poorest, Coalition Says," New York Times, October 8, 2001.  


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