facts.gif (458 bytes)


ABOUT GLOBAL POVERTY
AND MICROCREDIT

 

POVERTY
1.3 billion people worldwide live in absolute poverty, living on less than $1 U.S. per day. 70% of them are women.

35,000 children a day die before their fifth birthday from hunger-related diseases or chronic malnutrition.

DISPARITY

The average income of the richest 20% of the world's people is now 61 times that of the poorest 20%, compared to a 30-to-one ratio three decades ago.

The net worth of the 358 richest people is equal to the combined income of the 2.3 billion poorest people in the world.

DISINVESTMENT

The self-employed poor comprise from 50 to 70% of the labor force in developing countries. More than 500 million of them run microbusinesses. Fewer than 10 million of these or a mere 2.5% can obtain loans from banks or financial institutions.

The poorest 20% of the world's population accounts for less than 1% of world trade and investments.

Capital markets transact $1.3 trillion per day. By contrast, microlending volume worldwide is approximately $30 million per day -- a ratio of
43,333 to 1.

MICROLENDING

The World Bank reports that 30 million microloans are presently made worldwide per year. The total number is growing at a rate of 30 to 40% per year. The total market for microloans is estimated to be several hundred million people.

Grameen Bank in Bangladesh has lent more than $2 billion to more than 2 million villagers, most of them women. The average loan is less than $100.

A study conducted by Prof. David Gibbons of the Malaysia University of Science revealed that over 50% of Grameen members studied escaped poverty over a ten-year period, compared to only 5% in a control group. Gibbons also observed a significant elevation of the Grameen women's status within their own households.

Most microcredit programs report repayment rates of between 95 and 100%, better than those of many commercial banks worldwide.

The World Bank, in partnership with 25 other major donors, has created a fund of $300 million to support microcredit.


WOMEN

Women represent about 40% of the world's paid labor force. In non-agricultural work, the average woman's wage is only three-fourths that of a man.

Research in India by Women's World Banking reveals that 92% of the income earned by women from microloans goes back into the household economy, compared to 42% of the income earned by men.

email.gif (859 bytes)

Top of Page
Part One  |  Part Two   |  Outreach  |  Tapes  |  Site Map
Stories  |  Women   |  Resources