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Inclusion in the financial system, key to improve the lives of Roma in Eastern Europe, according to a new World Bank report [editar]

It analyzes how access to financial services, from bank accounts to microcredit could help to improve the lives of the marginalized Roma communities in Eastern Europe



World Bank has released a new study entitled “Reducing Vulnerability and Promoting the Self-Employment of Roma in Eastern Europe Through Financial Inclusion” that analyzes how access to financial services, from bank accounts to microcredit could help improve the lives of marginalized Roma communities in Eastern Europe.

According to the report, “providing access to a secure way to save, for example, allows the poor not only to respond better to income shocks and smooth consumption, but also to invest in education, pay for unexpected health expenses, or set aside a down payment for a micro loan. Similarly, access to microcredit may enable poor Roma households to obtain a legal land title for their home, rebuild a home, or enable aspiring Roma entrepreneurs to start a business and become self-employed.”

The report, launched  in Brussels on September 4 at the A Way Out and a Possible Way Forward: Social Microcredit, Financial Inclusion, and Self-Employment for Roma conference, organized by DG REGIO, Kiútprograam Non-profit Co, the World Bank and the Polgár Foundation for Opportunities, finds that most of the Roma in Eastern Europe are excluded from financial services, ranging from basic bank accounts to microcredit. Promoting financial inclusion can not only contribute directly to the welfare of Roma in Eastern Europe, but also complement efforts to close the gap in areas like education, employment, housing and health.

In his opening address, the European Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, stressed the importance of creating an enabling environment for the most marginalized Roma to start up a business within the formal economy. "In Central Europe and the Balkans, the majority of Roma continue to live in unacceptable conditions. Local leaders must invest in improving relations with mainstream society and creating opportunities. "

During the conference, Joost de Laat, World Bank Senior Economist and lead author of the report, said there are many barriers that make entrepreneurship among the Roma very difficult. "“The vast majority of Roma want to work, and many are interested in starting a business. However, many aspiring Roma entrepreneurs lack education and collateral, are indebted, and have little experience even with basic financial services such as bank accounts (...).To substantially raise self-employment rates among this group requires a comprehensive, incremental approach to financial inclusion ".

Portada del estudio
Portada del estudio