At a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Debt, Aid and Trade yesterday, Gareth Thomas MP outlined DFID’s continuing efforts to support economic growth in the developing world despite the economic downturn.
He called for global action to help minimise the impact of the financial crisis on those who are set to lose the most. Drawing on proposals outlined in DFID’s latest White Paper, ‘Building our Common Future’, Thomas argued that there was a greater need to work together with the UN, G20 and regional institutions.
In order to promote growth, trade and jobs, Thomas reinforced the commitment made in the White Paper to scale up investment in microfinance, which DFID widely recognises as an effective means of reducing poverty. He specifically referred to a multi-donor fund to scale up microfinance in Africa which will significantly increase DFID’s commitments to microfinance in Africa, as RESULTS has been campaigning for in recent years.
Coordinator of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Microfinance/Microcredit Julia Modern asked Gareth Thomas to confirm that the fund will have a strong focus on poverty reduction to which he responded:
“If you can’t get access to finance for the poorest, then attempts to reach the MDGs are just pie in the sky.”
Asked about UK support for microinsurance to be included as one of the climate change adaptation measures to be promoted at the Copenhagen Summit in December, Gareth Thomas said whilst he did not believe that Copenhagen was the right place to get agreement on international risk pooling he recognised that this is something that needs to be addressed and said that DFID’s efforts on microinsurance were ongoing.