USAID-assisted microlending education project for rural Belarusians

Plans have been made to work out and test a microfinancing program for the Belarusian countryside. The national microfinancing center will implement the project with USAIDassistance in order to improve access to financial resources of rural Belarusians, BelTA learned from the project's supervisor Yuri Malafei on 20 June.
There are plans to introduce modern banking services in the Belarusian countryside to allow a group of solidary borrowers (5-6 people) to get money to start a small business or a medium one. The project targets SMEs, craftsmen, owners of farm tourism estates and personal subsidiary plots. Seminars to raise the awareness about self-employment and small business technologies will be arranged for potential borrowers in advance. Initially the national microfinancing center will provide loans as large as $1,500 at an interest rate equal to the refinancing rate of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. In the future the groups of borrowers, who manage to effectively use the borrowed funding and repay loans on time, will be able to borrow an equivalent of $5,000-10,000.
The project will run for four years. During this time there are plans to hold seminars on entrepreneurship basics and the development of business ideas for the countryside in Minsk Oblast (Pukhovichi District, Berezino District, Cherven District) and Brest Oblast (Ivatsevichi District, Luninets District, Pinsk District, and Gantsevichi District). Apart from that, at least 1,800 Belarusians across the country will be taught how to manage their personal finances properly, noted Yuri Malafei.
Raising the number of businessmen in the countryside who will be able to wisely and rationally use services of microfinance organizations and raising the overall financial awareness of the nation are two major goals of the project. With this in mind the international education course Plan Your Future will be more broadly advertised in the regions for the duration of the project. Among other things the course can teach one to rationally use loans and prevent family finance crises. 


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