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Regional Bank Helps Haitian Microfinance Institution with Cash Transfer

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)Friday said it has assisted the Haitian microfinance institution Fonkoze in transferring cash from abroad to most of its 42 Haitian branches.

The IDB said Fonkoze has been able to give cash to Haitians, who suffered a 7.3-magnitude quake on January 12, by transporting cash through military planes.

Fonkoze has received financial, logistic and management support from the IDB Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN) as well as from the US government and military, the IDB said.

This has made it possible for Fonkoze to deliver cash to 34 remote towns in Haiti, it added.

"The microfinance industry of Haiti helps people of very low incomes, and it is present in areas of the country where there are not traditional banks," FOMIN General Manager Julie T. Katzman said.

According to FOMIN, the remittances sent by Haitian emigrants back home have accounted for 26 percent of the country's US$7 billion gross domestic product in 2009.

Fonkoze is a microfinance institution which focuses on poor and ultra-poor women throughout the rural areas of Haiti. It has over 50,000 loan clients and 150,000 saving clients.

The Washington-based IDB, established in 1959 to support the process of economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean, is the main source of multilateral financing in the region.

(Xinhua News Agency January 30, 2010)

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