PlaNet Finance, intl bank to invest $ 8 million in Andhra

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New Delhi, June 11 (UNI) PlaNet Finance, an international organisation that aims at alleviating poverty through the development of the microfinance sector, has decided to invest in India for the first time.

To start with, PlaNet Finance will invest, along with an international bank, eight million dollars in a microfinance institution (MFI) in Andhra Pradesh.

''We will invest four million dollars and the international bank, which has local presence in Andhra Pradesh, will invest another four million dollars,'' PlaNet Finance South Asia Coordinator Delphine Thizy told reporters after the meeting of its India advisory board last evening.

The board met here yesterday under the chairmanship of its founder president Jacques Attali.

Mr Attali, who also founded the NGO International Action Against Hunger, said the meeting was held to review the company's relationship with India, and chalk out a strategy for the coming years.

PlaNet Finance India is a registered trust with the Indian Government since 2001 and has been providing access to financial services to the poorest population and financial intermediaries, including banks, cooperative, NGOs and microfinance institutions.

''Till now, PlaNet has been providing financial services. This is the first that we will be investing in India,'' Ms Thizy said. ''Our strategy will now be to link the corporate sector with the microfinance sector.'' She said the biggest challenge in India was how to provide new services to the millions of poor and increase the company's outreach.

She said money laundering was an important issue the Government should look into.

PlaNet's Global Advisory Board is co-chaired by Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus, who along with the Grameen Bank he founded won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for their pioneering use of tiny, seemingly insignificant loans-- microcredit-- to lift millions out of poverty.

UNI YJ AK NS1415

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