Known alternately as microcredit or the broader term microfinance, this highly successful partnership of public and private interests began to gain momentum in the mid-1970s as a serious tool for development. By the end of 2001, microcredit was provided to 26,8 million poor people-though this represents only about six percent of the estimated number of poor who could effectively use credit and related financial services including savings, insurance and asset-building systems. Through a concerted, collaborative and spirited effort by all stakeholders, microcredit can assume an even larger role in the global strategy for meeting the international pledge of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the commitment to cut poverty in half by 2015.
The UN General Assembly designated 2005 as the
International Year of Microcredit and invited Governments, the United Nations
system, concerned non-governmental organizations and others from civil society,
the private sector and the media to join in raising the profile and building
the capacity of the microcredit and microfinance sectors. It requested the
United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), as the policy advisory and
technical assistance centre for microfinance for the United Nations Development
Programme Group (UNDP), to develop, with inputs from
Working closely with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the UNCDF Year of Microcredit Secretariat is currently involved in coordinating a wide-range of activities for the Year, including the Blue Book project to identify key constraints and opportunities in providing inclusive financial services that are available to all citizens.
One of the
Advisors for the Year was HRH Princess Máxima of the
The official website of the Year.
All the International Years proclaimed by the General Assembly.