25 February 2014 20:34 | By Christina Finn, TheJournal.ie
The charitable arm of the credit union group aims to help half a million people in Ethiopia access “affordable and flexible” financial services.
Sasko Lazarov Photocall Ireland
Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello and Kieron Brennan from the ILCU.
THE ETHIOPIAN GOVERNMENT has selected the Irish League of Credit Unions to develop credit unions in the African county in what is described as “landmark contract”.
The charitable arm of the Irish credit union movement, The Irish League of Credit Unions’ International Development Foundation (ILCUF), has been awarded an exclusive two-year project which aims to allow half a million people in Ethiopia access “affordable and flexible” financial services.
The foundation secured the contract after a lengthy and competitive tendering process and has already been involved in the development of credit union movements in Ghana, Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone following their destructive civil wars.
The foundation is a registered charity and all administrative costs are met by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU). All contributions go directly towards supporting the various projects.
It is hoped that the project will help women in particular, through enhanced access to affordable and flexible financial services, mainly savings and loans facilities.
The Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello said the ILCUF has considerable experience in working with credit unions in developing countries, stating, “I am sure that ILCUF’s work in Ethiopia will also help lift many people in rural communities out of poverty. The Embassy of Ireland in Addis Ababa supported the ILCUF bid and the award of the contract is especially welcome since it reflects wider efforts by the Government to secure more business for Ireland through multilateral organisations”.
“We are delighted to be granted this major project to support the development of credit unions in Ethiopia. Ireland has had a proud tradition of helping in Africa. The foundation was set up to maintain this tradition, sharing the success of the Irish credit union movement with similar movements in the developing world,” said Kieron Brennan, ILCU CEO.
He added that winning the contract is a huge endorsement for the Irish credit union model and a great boost to partner countries fighting to alleviate people from poverty.