Jacques Attali, President of PlaNet Finance answers two questions:
“The struggle against poverty has to go hand in hand with a large number of reforms…”
1/ How are microfinance and microcredit useful tools for fighting world poverty?
The struggle against poverty has to go hand in hand with a large number of reforms. First of all, the rule of law, which must be democratic to avoid being arbitrary. Then a strong State must be established, capable of maintaining the law and ensuring a minimum standard of education and healthcare for all, with a tax burden which is neither non existent nor confiscatory. Finally, an efficient market economy must be established.
In this triple context, microfinance is fundamental: allowing the poorest people access to the means for their own development gives them the chance to be active participants in society rather than a social issue. Citizens, producers, consumers; The state of law must allow microfinance to develop in a rational manner, avoiding excessive debt and orientating loans towards income generating activities which will favour the growth of micro enterprises, enabling them to recruit staff and adapt to changes in technology and the market. In this way, a middle class, which is a condition of survival for democracy, can be born.
The PlaNet Finance Group has set itself the goal of helping to develop all the means necessary for these advances to take place.
2/ What is MicroWorld’s role and position in this context? What are your ambitions for MicroWorld?
MicroWorld is a new dimension of the PlaNet Finance group. It complements the existing dimensions by offering the general public the opportunity to become on line lenders. MicroWorld could not exist without the rest of the group, which is able to make the local investigations required to verify the quality of the micro entrepreneurs whose projects are offered for financing. In exchange, MicroWorld helps promote the PlaNet Finance group amongst the general public and other parties involved in co-development. If citizens with the funds to lend become involved in a project, then co-development stops being charity. It becomes a rational means of development which is useful for everyone. We hope that MicroWorld will rapidly become a financially sound enterprise, working efficiently towards its objectives and proving, along with the PlaNet Finance group’s other subsidiaries, that it is possible to serve the general interest by other means than the, albeit perfectly respectable, solutions of charity and taxation.