|Sustainable Development and Persons with Disabilities: The Process of Self-Empowerment (ADF, 1995, 117 p.)|
|Section II: Building economic self-reliance|
|Chapter 7: Implementation and resource mobilisation|
The issue of Revolving Loan Scheme was discussed in one of the working groups of the Entebbe Workshop, which, in its plenary session, adopted the following resolution:
Funding partners should accord priority to projects involving revolving loan schemes. Organisations of PWDs in Africa should plan and secure resources for revolving loan schemes to provide the following services and facilities:
· 100% loan financing for projects of both individuals and groups of PWDs.
· Training through existing NGO networks of PWD entrepreneurs in business planning, management and providing of outreach business, monitoring, counselling and support services.
· Sensitisation of mainstream organisations in order to reach PWDs in rural and urban centres in each country.
· Promote publicity of the revolving loan scheme to the wider society.
· The revolving loan should be managed through an appropriate financial institution that will be responsible for the processing, approval and monitoring of financial projects.
· The revolving loan schemes should be uniquely designed in line with political and economic cercumstances of each country; but should subscribe to the following general principles:
A multi-disciplinary board of directors with representatives of PWDs should be elected by the promoting agencies to run the affairs for the schemes.
A negotiated interest rate on loans and an agreed grace period based on the gestation period of the project should be agreed upon by the partners involved.
A reasonable repayment period in light of the nature of the project, size of the loan and other considerations should be incorporated in the contract agreement.
Clear logistical plans to enable potential beneficiaries to get speedy access to information and loan procedures should be part and parcel of the revolving loan strategy.
Clear sustainability plan linked to investment plan for the loan guarantee fund should be put in place right from the beginning.
· This workshop recommends that agencies such as ADF, NGOs and UNDP should incorporate a deliberate policy within their funding and technical assistance policies focusing on revolving loan schemes.
· For higher levels of funding, groups should approach financial institutions.
As can be seen, it is an ambitious vision. It may be too ambitious. The proposed RLS is not just a national scheme but a multinational (or pan-African) one to cater specifically for the PWDs. It seeks to direct the RLS to provide 100% loans to the beneficiaries (both individuals and groups). Beyond its usual financing function, it also mandates the RLS to provide training, business planning, management, outreach business service, monitoring, counselling and support services.
There is no reason why this vision should not be pursued. However, it might add weight if the participating organizations are prepared to pledge some of their own savings into the pool, besides seeking soft funds from donor organizations. This way they will put some of their own assets at stake, and thus be forced to take a direct interest in ensuring its success.