Pictured is the planning committee of the FOROMIC XV conference in a recent meeting. (BGIS)

Barbados will create history, this October, by being the first country in the English speaking Caribbean to host FOROMIC – the leading, annual microfinance and microenterprise development event in Latin America and the Caribbean.

FOROMIC XV is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs of Barbados and the Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group.

It is being organised by a committee of experienced individuals from both the public and private sectors, including the Ministry of International Business and International Transport, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and Barbados Conference Services Ltd. Barbados Tourism Authority, FundAccess, Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, Barbados Community College, Invest Barbados and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association are also among the agencies represented on the planning committee.

And, according to Government representative and local head of the organising body, Avril Gollop, plans are well under way for the October 1 to October 3 conference. It is scheduled for the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, and some 1300 delegates from over 40 countries are expected to attend.

The attendees at FOROMIC XV will include representatives from microfinance institutions, associations of microenterprises and microentrepreneurs, enterprise development service providers, members of non-governmental organisations and their networks; and socially responsible investors. Members of the Chambers of Commerce, government entities, financial sector regulators, multilateral organisations, foundations, academia and private donors are also expected to participate.

"Our business community will have an excellent opportunity to benefit from the wide and diverse networking possibilities this conference offers. With an event such as this there are many variables and components such as sponsorship, accommodation and even the social activities we are planning for the delegates, and these all speak to who we are as a people, and by extension, a country," Mrs. Gollop observed.??????????

"We are also well aware that there could be a number of spin-off benefits for tourism and will therefore, use the opportunity to showcase what we have to offer as a tourism destination," Government’s FOROMIC representative added.??

Over the years, the impact of FOROMIC has been significant. In 1998, when it first started, there were 205 microfinance institutions serving 1.5 million clients.?? Today, more than 600 microfinance institutions have a client base of 12.5 million people in Latin America.

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