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The report of the VIII National Conference «The Role of Microfinance in Overcoming the Financial and Economic Crisis», on November 17-19, 2009 in Moscow is available!


The report of the VIII National Microfinance Conference “The Role of Microfinance in Overcoming the Financial and Economic Crisis” with photos and presentations is available at http://conf.rmcenter.ru/2009/otchet/.

On 17-19 November 2009 — the VIII National Microfinance Conference “The Role of Microfinance in Overcoming the Financial and Economic Crisis” – the largest national event devoted to microfinance and access to financial services was held in Moscow.

The VIII Russian National Microfinance Conference was organized by the National Partnership of Microfinance Market Stakeholders (NAMMS) supported by the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Federation Council of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation. The conference was one of the top 10 events in Global Entrepreneurship Week, which took place in more than 150 countries.

In times of growing economic instability. the growing demand for access to financial services from the general public and small business and the development of the retail financial infrastructure are particularly important. Microfinance is becoming a serious force in Russia. In 2008, microfinance institutions lent over 800 million USD to approximately 700,000 clients. The Russian government made microfinance an anti-crisis priority for 2009.

Over 500 people from 51 regions of Russia and from 22 foreign countries participated in the conference, including the largest financial institutions offering credit to small business, such as VTB 24, Bank TRUST, Rosbank, Promsvyazbank and Forus Bank. Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank participated in the opening ceremony that was led by Mikhail Mamuta, President of NAMMS.

The main topics of discussions in plenary sessions were the role of microfinance in overcoming the financial and economic crisis and how regulators and market participants respond to today's challenges, opportunities and threats on the road to inclusive finance. Top Russian and international experts discussed the role of microfinance in improving living standards, small business development and job creation. State officials such as Alexei L Savatyugin (Ministry of Finance, Director of the Financial Policy Department, Member of the National Banking Council), Ivan Oskolkov (Head of Corporate Governance Department, Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation), Andrey Sharov (Head of Development of Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Department , Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation), Anatoliy Gubkin (Deputy, Chairman of the subcommittee on microfinance organizations and credit cooperatives, State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation) discussed the issues of state participation in the development of the microfinance market and other initiatives to encourage growth in the availability of financial services in an open dialogue with market representatives and experts.

Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands said in her speech at the conference:

“I am glad to know that expanding access to finance is an active interest of the federal government here. National strategies and visions need the engagement of governments, the country's regulators and supervisors, financial institutions (including NGO's) and even telecom providers or retailers. All of these should work together to increase access to financial services”.

Speaking ahead of the Conference, Muhammad Yunus, Founder of the Grameen Bank said:

“This is an exciting time for the Russian microfinance industry. The government, private sector, microfinance organisations and NGOs must continue to work together to build the infrastructure that will support a thriving alternative finance industry. Giving people access to financial services helps them to escape poverty, develop new business and encourages entrepreneurship and financial literacy”.

“We consider it absolutely right that the Government has included microfinancing in the list of the anti-recession priorities. Support for small business in Russia is one of the most effective instruments in the fight against poverty and unemployment, which are particularly serious in the countryside and single industry cities. Our state target is to reach the level of availability of financing facility of leading Eastern European countries by 2012 and Western not later than 2020", - Mikhail Mamuta, President of NAMMS announced.

Director of the Financial Policy Department of Ministry of Finance Alexey Savatyugin said at the opening of the plenary session that the Minister of Finance has just introduced a draft federal law on microfinancing to the Government of the Russian Federation.

«This law was developed not only with close interdepartmental communication, but also together with practitioners. The law advances the concepts of microloans (up to 1 million rbl.) and microfinancing activities. In addition, the law sets out elements of state regulation and self-regulation of microfinancial organizations. We hope that next year the microfinancing system will be adjusted to promote the inflow of various forms of the capital to this sector ».

Press contacts: Levadnaya@commgroup.ru; +7 495 223 2204

Notes to Editors

1. About the Conference:

The VIII National Microfinance Conference, “The Role of Microfinance in Overcoming the Financial and Economic Crisis” will take place at Borodino Hotel, Ul. Russakovskaya 13, 107140 Moscow. For more information, please see the conference website: http://conf.rmcenter.ru/2009/eng/index.php

2. About the Russian Microfinance Center:

The Russian Microfinance Center (RMC) represents and advocates for the interests of the entire microfinance community. The RMC’s mission is to promote a strong and sustainable microfinance sector in the Russian Federation, facilitate access to financial resources for SME and low-income people, create jobs and improve living standards of the poor. RMC serves as a resource center for Russia’s microfinance industry and a national forum for its interaction with the government, public, and investors; it advocates for an enabling legal environment for microfinance; offers training and professional consulting services to microfinance institutions, and promotes national microfinance standards.

3. About the National Partnership of Microfinance Market Stakeholders (NAMMS):

NAMMS brings together associations of microlenders and other institutions promoting microfinance in Russia. Its mission is to advance microlending in Russia by joining the efforts of microfinance market stakeholders working, in particular, to promote a favorable policy environment for microfinance, to increase the number of microfinance institutions, and to support microlending programs implemented by various finance and credit institutions, while taking into account the changing needs of small business operators. Today, NAMMS represents virtually all types of microfinance institutions and covers between 60 and 65% of market stakeholders, or about 1,500 institutions.

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