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Indonesia to set up microfinance firms in villages
August 11th, 2007

JAKARTA, Aug 10 (Reuters) – Indonesia plans to spend 1 trillion rupiah ($107.1 million) in 2008 to set up financial institutions in villages across the country to reduce poverty and unemployment, the agriculture minister said on Friday.

The administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who took office in 2004, has pledged to cut chronic poverty in the world’s fourth most populous country.

“We plan to set up financial institutions in poor villages with good prospects in agriculture in 2008,” Agriculture Mininster Anton Apriyantono told reporters after a speech by Nobel prize winner Muhammad Yunus.

The Bangladeshi banker and economist and his Grameen Bank won recognition from the Swedish Nobel Foundation in 2006 for lending small sums of cash to poor traders and entrepreneurs who would otherwise not have access to traditional banking or credit facilities.

Indonesia’s fourth-largest lender, PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia, is currently the market leader in the domestic loan market for small firms and in microfinancing.

($1=9340 Rupiah)

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