Submitted by: Global Communities
Posted: Jan 16, 2008 – 04:17 PM EST
Jan. 16 /CSRwire/ - SILVER SPRING, MD - January 16, 2008 - A new fund operated by CHF International and made possible by American businessman Robert L. Johnson, Chairman of the RLJ Companies, will provide Liberian entrepreneurs and businesses with the financial and technical resources they need to rejuvenate the country's economy and foster long-term stability in the wake of two decades of civil strife.
The generous $3 million donation from Mr. Johnson is providing the initial capital needed to open a non-bank finance institution called the RLJ Liberian Enterprise Development Fund (LEDF), which will be operated by CHF International.
This new economic development fund operated by CHF International is expected to receive up to $20 million in loan capital from the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) that can ultimately be used to meet the credit needs of more than an estimated 1,500 Liberian businesses.
Working in coordination with the African Development Foundation's (ADF) existing efforts to provide business development services to Liberian enterprises, CHF and its partners believe that the short- and medium-term impact of the LEDF will be through the direct provision of credit, select equity investments and targeted technical assistance. But, in the long-term, the program is expected to strengthen functional commercial linkages between Liberia’s business and financial sectors – and will result in the creation of a stable, commercially-viable business sector.
"Our experience in post-conflict settings around the world has made it abundantly clear that the best chances for political and social stability are achieved when there is economic stability, and the commercial sector has adequate access to credit," said Michael E. Doyle, President of CHF International. He added, "Given our specific experience in Liberia working to mitigate conflict in some of the most devastated areas of the country, I am convinced this initiative is exactly what the country needs to move forward to achieve lasting peace and prosperity."
For nearly three years, CHF International implemented the Locally Initiated Networks for Community Strengthening (LINCS) Program, through the support of the US Agency for International Development. LINCS strengthened the prospects for peace and stability at the community and district levels in Voinjama, Salayea, and Zorzor Districts in Lofa County - one of the areas most devastated by the conflict - organizing dozens of peace forums with community leaders, forming over 70 Community Peace Councils, and engaging diverse ethnic groups in livelihoods projects that accelerated the process of both reconstruction and reconciliation.
CHF has a track record of more than 20 years in micro- and small- business lending, and works to provide underserved entrepreneurs and low-income households in the developing world with reliable access to financial resources that allow them to translate economic choice into action and improve their lives for the better.
Founded in 1952, CHF International's mission is to be a catalyst for long-lasting positive change in low- and moderate-income communities around the world, helping families improve their economic circumstances, environment and infrastructure. CHF has worked in 100 countries worldwide since its inception.
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