Australia Strengthens Development Partnership with US, Pledges Funding for Women's Microfinance

Australia and the United States have formalized their partnership to maximize development assistance in the areas of economic growth, child and maternal health, and governance.

The Australia-U.S. partnership - which has a combined total of 18.1 million Australian dollars ($18.7 million) - will support development projects in countries where both countries are engaged. These include maternal and child health projects in Tanzania, conflict resolution in South Sudan and Afghanistan, and water and sanitation projects in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Australia has also pledged to provide AU$2.2 million for microfinance funding to some 26 million women in developing countries.  

Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd made the commitment at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Women and Economy Summit held in San Francisco, Calif., USA.

The grant will help microfinance institutions provide loans until 2013 to women to start their own small businesses. By doing so, the grant ultimately aims to enable these women to achieve economic independence, send their children to school, and improve their standard of living.

“Microfinance is an important funding source for women who run up to 40 percent of small businesses worldwide but only access around 10 percent of commercial bank loans,” Rudd said.

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  • Che

    Che de los Reyes

    As a senior staff writer, Che focuses on international development breaking news coverage as well as interviews and features. Prior to joining Devex, Che handled communications for local and international development NGOs and government institutions in the Philippines.