|Financial Systems for Rural Development (GRET)|
In the field of rural financing, the situation of the Lao PDR can be compared to that of Cambodia and Vietnam: a political will to emphasize rural development, a need to set up one or more financial structures, and a taking into account of the need for decentralization.
Even if each country implements its own strategy for reaching these goals, they have several factors in common:
- the existing credit systems are recent; they are, for the most part, still in the research and adaptation stage of systems tested in local contexts;
- the institutional and legal frameworks are being developed;
- a substantial number of national and outside operators are working in this field and are trying to implement frameworks for consultation and exchange.
The idea of this regional meeting came to be on the basis of these main elements. Its goal was not to produce resolutions. It was quite simply to organize an opportunity to exchange ideas and experience.
One expectation was to enrich the practical aspects of the issue by interfacing the experience and difficulties encountered. Moreover, this initial encounter was to make it possible to set up the initial foundations of bilateral regional exchanges: visits, exchanges of technical information and publications, training programmes between the participating countries, etc.
The debates were organized along four lines:
- experience in the field of rural financial systems worldwide;
- the situation of rural credit in the four participating countries. Presentations were made by several speakers representing the banking sector as well as NGOs, technical consultants and mutualistic systems;
- the pros and cons in implementing decentralized financial systems in these four countries, strategies of experimenting, training and institutionalization.
- discussions on six topics of common interest: the link between the various financial systems, the durability of the financial institutions, credit in cash or kind, systems of guarantees, how to reach the various social categories, the policy of savings.
All in all, after three days of exchanges, the results were quite satisfactory. The debates were high in quality, as well as friendly and energetic.
This document includes the most important part of the contents from the discussions. We chose not to transcribe all of the presentations and debates. The final document would have been too long and tedious to read. We opted for a synthesis approach, however, some texts and summaries of presentations have been included in the appendix.
Readers interested in specific rural developments may contact the organizers, or the institutions and people concerned directly at the addresses listed on the last page of this document.