Blueprint for economic empowerment for world’s poor agreed at Nairobi workshop

13 September 2012

Opened by the Archbishops of Kenya and Central Africa, and with keynote speeches from African bankers and academics, the workshop brought together Anglicans from across Asia, Africa and Latin America. It put forward a package of proposals for advocacy and development to provide community-owned financial services backed by training in financial literacy.

And with attention focused on people working in small-scale farming, the workshop also set out priorities for action on World Food Day on October 16th

It was backed by detailed commitments from individual participants for action when they returned home, ranging from building partnerships with local banks, training clergy in building financial literacy in their communities, and working on the theology of economic empowerment.

Archbishops Eliud Wabukala of the Anglican Church of Kenya opened the workshop which also heard from the Most Revd Albert Chama of the Province of Central Africa,  Dr James Mwangi, Chief Executive Officer of Equity Bank, Africa’s leading micro-finance provider, and Prof Elishiba Kimani of Kenyatta University who set out how poverty impacted most heavily on women.

Fulfilling a mandate from regional consultations held in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Latin America last year, the measures agreed by participants included:

  • Support for more community-owned micro-finance for poor people, including through savings and loans schemes, co-operatives, and through partnerships with mainstream providers. Participants committed to look for more effective products for the most poor, especially in small-scale farming.
  • Research by the Anglican Alliance into what works – and what doesn’t – in micro-finance.
  • Active support by the church for more adult education in financial literacy, either supporting micro-finance schemes or as stand-alone projects. The Anglican Alliance will provide a resource base for materials.
  • Advocacy to set baseline standards globally for micro-finance with regulation to provide more protection for poor people.
  • Advocacy to make economic decision-making more inclusive at all levels, with equal representation  for women.
  • Direct action and advocacy to increase access to markets at local level, especially for small-scale farmers.
  • With agriculture a focus for attention of the proposals for expansion of micro-finance, the workshop also set out priorities for advocacy on food security on world food day.
  • The development of a theology of economic empowerment, with contributions from across the Communion.

Participants also committed to individual actions when they returned home.

Over four days the workshop looked at different models of financial services, and the experience of practitioners in different parts of the Communion. They heard from Canon Grace Kaiso, secretary general of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, Mr Charles Abugre, Africa Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign Office, Ruth Stewart, a University of London micro-finance research academic, and Mrs Anne Mbaabu, of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa.   Participants also visited a women’s bank set up by the Mother’s Union in Kiambu, a town on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Papers from the workshop will be posted on this website.

Participants at the workshop came from the dioceses of  Honduras and Colombia and the churches of Philippines, Bangladesh, Brazil, UK, West Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and from partner organisations Five Talents Uganda and Kenya, Lambeth Trust, Hope Africa,  and the Anglican Board of Mission in Australia. The Primates World Relief and Development Fund sent two participants involved in micro-finance in Mozambique and the Mothers Union sent participants from Burundi and Malawi.