“Financial Crisis and the Role of Microfinance”–Presentation by Economist, Jacques Attali

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Date: 30/03/2009
Location: Tunis, Tunisia
Jacques ATTALI

French economist and micro-finance specialist, Jacques Attali, will on Monday, March 30, 2009, in Tunis make a presentation on the “Financial Crisis and the Role of Microfinance”.

According to Mr. Attali, who is President of PlaNet Finance, micro-credit plays a key role in development efforts targeting the poorest segments of the population, and micro-finance sources need to be preserved at a time when the global financial crisis is severely hitting Africa. The continent has made steady progress over the last decade, building the foundations for higher growth rates and poverty reduction.

These achievements are now being undermined by factors beyond Africa’s control. While the initial effects of the global financial crisis were slow to manifest themselves on the continent, the impact is now becoming clear. It is sweeping away firms, mines, jobs, revenues, and livelihoods.

The growth outlook has deteriorated severely in all African countries. Macro-economic balances have worsened, with many countries facing widening current account and budget deficits. The crisis is reducing trade, the mainstay of Africa’s recent strong growth. In addition to exports, capital inflows are declining, including worker remittances and tourism receipts. Stocks of foreign reserves are running dangerously low. This is jeopardizing the capacity to import even basic commodities such as medical supplies and agricultural inputs. The poor and the less privileged are the most affected.

Guest of the African Development Bank “think-tank” Eminent Speakers Programme designed to nurture intellectual exchanges on key development issues in Africa, Jacques Attali will deepen the debate on ways of mitigating the economic impact of the global financial crisis on African economies on the eve of the G-20 Summit on the financial crisis scheduled to take place in London on April 2, 2009.

Within this context, the AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka, has urged the International Community to materialize its commitments to double aid to Africa, saying the continent will not be able to address the global financial crisis without increased aid from wealthy nations.