6 Jan 2006

Taiwan provides US$800,000 for Marshalls loan scheme

10:22 am on 6 January 2006

Taiwan is set to provide US$800,000 to

launch the first so-called micro credit scheme in the Marshall Islands.

The Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Gerald Zackios and Taiwanese Ambassador Lien-gene Chen signed the agreement for the funding in Majuro on Thursday.

Mr Chen said the new loan programme would be run by the Marshall Islands Development Bank to help the outer islands to develop their private sector.

At the moment, loans to individuals from the various banks in the Marshalls come with an interest rate ranging from 13 to 18 per cent, which have put loans beyond the ability of small-scale entrepreneurs to repay.

A team from Taiwan's International Cooperation and Development Fund is now in Majuro to complete a feasibility study on the needs and how the new credit scheme can be put to work in the Marshalls.

The team wraps up its work, including visits to two remote outer atolls, next Friday.