International Year of Microcredit


IYM logoOn 18 November 2004 the United Nations launched the International Year of Microcredit, as part of an effort to build support for making financial services more accessible to poor and low-income people. The Year aimed to raise public awareness about microcredit and microfinance, and promote innovative partnerships among governments, donors, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, academia and microfinance clients.


Known alternately as microcredit or the broader term microfinance, this highly successful partnership of public and private interests began to gain momentum in the mid-1970s as a serious tool for development. By the end of 2001, microcredit was provided to 26,8 million poor people-though this represents only about six percent of the estimated number of poor who could effectively use credit and related financial services including savings, insurance and asset-building systems. Through a concerted, collaborative and spirited effort by all stakeholders, microcredit can assume an even larger role in the global strategy for meeting the international pledge of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the commitment to cut poverty in half by 2015.


Banslagesh - stamps IYMThe UN General Assembly designated 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit and invited Governments, the United Nations system, concerned non-governmental organizations and others from civil society, the private sector and the media to join in raising the profile and building the capacity of the microcredit and microfinance sectors. It requested the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), as the policy advisory and technical assistance centre for microfinance for the United Nations Development Programme Group (UNDP), to develop, with inputs from Member States, UN agencies and other stakeholders, the programme of action for the Year. UNCDF also hosts the Year secretariat, which is responsible for the operational management of coordinating the Year.


Princess Máxima in KenyaWorking closely with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the UNCDF Year of Microcredit Secretariat is currently involved in coordinating a wide-range of activities for the Year, including the Blue Book project to identify key constraints and opportunities in providing inclusive financial services that are available to all citizens.


One of the Advisors for the Year was HRH Princess Máxima of the Netherlands. The photo shows the Princess during a working visit to Kenya, talking to women who received small loans (photo: Radio Netherlands).





The official website of the Year.

All the International Years proclaimed by the General Assembly.



Stamp catalogue


Bangladesh                                15 January 2005









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last revised: 20 May 2008