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Madagascar: $45 Million to Promote Financial Inclusion of Individuals and Small Enterprises

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The World Bank approved today a $45 million International Development Association (IDA)* credit to promote the financial inclusion of individuals and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Madagascar.

Madagascar Financial Inclusion project will specifically target women and women-owned enterprises, to reduce disparities in access to finance for women. The direct beneficiaries of the project will include teachers, students and taxpayers that will have the option to receive and make government payments through an e-money transaction account. Among other direct beneficiaries are also the microfinance institutions customers, particularly in rural areas. Mobile money operators will benefit from increased use of their e-money services as well as expansion of their agent network.

With the expansion of telecom services across Madagascar, the country has a chance to expand financial services through the greater use of mobile money to people who had been under-served until then, be it the teacher who had to be absent from school to go and collect her salary or the farmer needing credit to buy seeds and fertilizer,” said Coralie Gevers, World Bank Country Manager for Madagascar. “The World Bank is proud to support the efforts of the authorities, the Central Bank of Madagascar, and financial services providers to promote a more inclusive access to finance.”

A 2016 Finscope survey found that 41 percent of adults in Madagascar are fully financially excluded (equally, 41 percent of females), without access to formal or informal financial services. According to the World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey 2017, access to finance was ranked second most problematic factor for doing business in Madagascar (after political instability). Madagascar ranks at 133th place out of 190 countries in terms of “Getting Credit” in the 2018 World Bank Doing Business.

This project also supports banks and Microfinance Institutions to supply credit to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises through a credit guarantee scheme and the application of financial technology (Fintech) innovations. Moreover, it encourages credit demand by productive enterprises through business development services for entrepreneurs and Microfinance Institutions branch expansions into underserved areas.

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.

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Making the impossible possible

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photo: UN Environment

Sitting at a bus stop one day when she was 16, When Miranda Wang saw someone throw a plastic bottle into a trash bin, even though the recycling bin was right next to it.

“It just made me realize that the problem is so much bigger than the behavior of individual people,” she said. “Globally, only 9 per cent of plastics produced are actually recycled. That’s because as a society, we lack recycling technologies that can make virgin-quality products from plastic waste.”

“My project is a social impact startup developing and scaling up a new technology to recycle unrecyclable plastics. Over the past year, the project has snowballed, and we are seeing massive interest in this area,” she said.

Since starting up her company BioCellection, and winning the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Young Champions of the Earth prize in 2018, twenty-five-year-old Wang and her team have invented a US$ 5 million technology that breaks down plastics into chemical building blocks, upcycling them into higher value materials for manufacturing.

The first engineering drawings for the technology scale-up have been completed, and multiple materials from the resulting purified compounds from breaking down plastics have been tested.

The company has already completed two thirds of a pilot programme to test the technology at scale with the City of San José, California, United States, and other tests have already been completed with Google among others.  

The team has expanded, with eight new hires instead of the projected four, winning grants and prizes including the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, Pritzker Environmental Genius Award and MIT Solve.

In addition to refining the recycling technology, Wang has appeared in magazines including TIME, the New York Times, Monocle, Marie Claire, National Geographic and many others over the last 12 months.  

Why not become part of a global movement, and tell us what you are doing to turn the tide on plastic pollution. Take the Clean Seas pledge!

Do you have what it takes to be a Young Champion of the Earth? Stay tuned here to follow stories of previous winners and changemakers.

UN Environment

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AfDB hosts talks with ICRC on making an impact through collaboration

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The African Development Bank held talks with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Vice-President Gilles Carbonnier at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan on furthering their shared development goals.

The main purpose of the meeting, held on 20 January, was to discuss collaboration between the institutions and share the progress made since the signing of a Bank-ICRC memorandum of understanding to explore partnership opportunities.

“It is mainly through operation and cooperation that we are going to learn exactly how best to work together to be more relevant, more impactful,” Carbonnier said.

The Bank-ICRC collaboration centers on working in areas of fragility in Africa, with special emphasis on building resilience, particularly among women and girls.

Representatives from the Bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Complex, the Bank’s Transitional States Coordination Office and the Bank’s Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery Complex were present. The talks were facilitated by Catherine Cudré-Mauroux, Bank Executive Director for Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal.

Calling the Bank-ICRC partnership “a natural fit”, the Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Jennifer Blanke, said: “There’s a recognition that if you look at humanitarian work that might be in the same region year after year, you cannot deal with that, without some development element, which we can bring in. From our perspective, there are a lot of places in Africa where we want to be working on development impact.” 

Another area of interest is investing in vulnerable women in the Sahel Region and North Africa.

“We know that we reach higher returns when investing in women. Studies demonstrate that women reinvest most of their income (up to 90%) in providing a social safety net for their families, with a ripple effect on health, education, nutrition and youth empowerment. Investments today will yield tomorrow’s returns,” said Vanessa Moungar, Director for the Bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department.

Moungar’s department spearheads the Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative, which the Bank sees as a key component of improving women’s access to economic resources.

Participants also agreed to focus on internally displaced persons and their host communities.

“The idea is to scale up our work in the field,” said Patricia Danzi, ICRC Regional Director for Africa. “We want to be able to do more than what the Bank or ICRC would have done alone.”

The ICRC and the Bank say future discussions will address technical, legal, financial and field aspects, with an eye toward accelerating the partnership implementation.

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ILO: Employment policies are key to address the challenge of migration

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photo: ILO

Employment policies and strategic alliances to seek effective and sustainable solutions are key to address the challenge of international migration, said the ILO during the 12th Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development  that concluded today in the capital of Ecuador.

“Most migration is directly or indirectly related to the world of work, where there are now 164 million migrant workers or 70% of all working age migrants, and nearly half are women”, recalled the ILO Regional Director a.i. for Latin America and the Caribbean, Juan Hunt, speaking Thursday night at the closing plenary session of the Forum.

Hunt stressed that “As we look to the future, we can recognize that International migration is a reflection of global shifts, challenges and transformations, including in technology, in the world of work”.

The meeting in Quito this week brought together some 1300 delegates from 150 countries, international organizations, civil society, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and local authorities, among others. The Global Forum was created in 2007 to facilitate discussion on how to generate better policies for international migration, develop innovative ideas and build partnerships.

“The ILO shares the view that partnerships among Governments, academia, media, mayors and migrants, as well as with world of work actors –business, employers´ and workers organizations and trade unions –are critical in shaping evidence-based dialogue and public perceptions,” said Hunt.

He added that “ILO encourages social dialogue in the development and implementation of labour migration policies. This brings durability and legitimacy to programmes that support decent work.”

The ILO Regional Director reminded the plenary that “decent work deficits, humanitarian issues and other challenges such as climate change exacerbate these situations and will continue to drive migration across the world.”

ILO’s standards are particularly important in this regard as they lay the foundation for achieving decent work for all, including for realizing fundamental rights and freedoms, reducing vulnerability and exploitation, he explained.

“When migration and employment policies are well coordinated, we can make progress in eliminating recruitment fees and costs for migrant workers which reduce their savings and, in worst cases, lead to human trafficking and debt bondage,” he added.

Regarding the meeting in Quito, the ILO Regional Director considered that it has been an intense and rich summit that touched upon many aspects of the migratory phenomenon, included new actors in the discussion such as local authorities.

In his speech, he stressed the importance of countering at the international level “the negative rhetoric surrounding migration” and of increasing “the capacity of response” to the challenges posed by the mobility of large numbers of human beings from one country to another.

“A human-centred approach to the future of work is crucial if we are to continue to meet labour markets needs while also ensuring workers are protected and can fulfil their potential without discrimination or exploitation,” said Hunt.

The ILO delegation to the XII Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Ecuador was headed by the Regional Director and the Director of the ILO Labour Migration Branch, Michelle Leighton.

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