Bill Clinton praised microfinance in his closing speech at the 2008 summit for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), the global development summit and brainchild of the former U.S. president. As one of the summit’s concluding speakers, Clinton exhorted investors to consider the poor of developing nations as viable investment alternatives to today’s turbulent markets. He lauded international microfinance investors as “smart people” earning money the “old-fashioned way” in a “real economy based on real people doing real things for a real rate of return.” Amid a global credit crisis that threatens to dry up anti-poverty aid, Clinton cautioned investors and business leaders from “looking inward.”
“The people who have these microcredit operations, who are investing in poor people around the world where there was no market and you create one because there are smart people, they are not the cause of these financial problems,” said Clinton.
At the end of the summit, Clinton highlighted 250 new commitments, worth a total of USD 8 billion, that he claimed will improve the economic living arrangements for millions of people. About USD 400 million of these funds will be invested directly in small and mid-sized businesses in developing nations. In total, the CGI in the past four years (including 2008) has announced a total of about 1,200 commitments worth about USD 46 billion across 150 countries.
The fourth annual summit of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) took place from September 23 to 26 at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in New York City, bringing together more than 130 global leaders from government, business and civil society in order to discuss pressing global challenges and their solutions. The topics of focus this year were education, energy and climate change, global health and poverty alleviation. Prominent speakers included Wangari Muta Maathai, Rick Warren, Muhammad Yunus and former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Please check here to see the complete schedule of events.
Bloomberg News: “Bill Clinton Praises Microfinance, Gets $8 Billion in Pledges”
MicroCapital Press Release: “Former President Clinton, Muhammad Yunus to Speak on Closing Day of Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting”
MicroCapital Event: “President Clinton to Host 2008 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting”