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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs   21 May 2014  

Amret MFI gets $10M loan to aid SME reach

Cambodia: Amret Microfinance received a $10 million boost yesterday by a loan from German development bank KfW, according to a joint statement from the finance institutions.

Chea Phalarin, chief executive officer of Amret Microfinance Institution, said yesterday that the new loan – equal to nearly double its profit for 2013 – will be used to increase access to financing for Cambodia’s smallest businesses.

“[The new loan] will provide possibilities for Amret to expand its activities in further providing loans to citizens for business operation and for cultivation purposes in the coming rainy season,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Amret’s outstanding loans total is currently $245 million, according to the release. One of a handful of MFI’s licensed to take deposits, the former credit NGO currently holds $113 million in client savings.

Gerald Lazer, director at KfW, said that though the number of MFIs has grown significantly in Cambodia in recent times, access to finance is still a problem in most rural areas.

“By providing this funding, KfW wants to be part of the effort of enhancing access to financial services via an increased outreach and a diversified product range,” he said in a statement yesterday.

According to Lazer, only 8 per cent of all households use formal financial services and less than 43 per cent of micro- and small- to medium-size enterprises have a bank account.

Industry-wide, MFI loans outstanding at the end of the first quarter this year reached $1.51 billion, up from $1.32 billion at the end of 2013.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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