Handbook of Microcredit in Europe
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Handbook of Microcredit in Europe

Social Inclusion through Microenterprise Development

Edited by Bárbara Jayo Carboni, Maricruz Lacalle Calderón, Silvia Rico Garrido, Karl Dayson and Jill Kickul

This timely Handbook offers a unique opportunity to consider the performance and national context of microcredit initiatives within the European Union.
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Chapter 12: Microcredit in Norway

Elisabet Ljunggren and Trude Emaus Holm


Elisabet Ljunggren and Trude Emaus Holm National context Norway is a small country in northern Europe with approximately 4.5 million inhabitants. Its economy is largely dependent on export of oil and gas as well as fisheries and fish farming. Norway is ranked as one of the wealthiest nations in Europe; it is not an EU member. It has a history of independence since 1905 when it seceded from Swedish governance. During World War II it was occupied by nazi Germany, but with exile government and troops, Norway fought on the allied side. This led to a tight connection to the USA in the post-war period and to NATO membership. The Norwegian economy has been strong since the 1970s when the income from oil and gas export increased. The strong economy has led to a growth of the public sector and a strong welfare state. Some key figures are shown in Table 12.1. The employment distribution between the public and private sector shows that 66 per cent of the employees in the public sector are women while the number of male employees in the private sector is 63 per cent (OECD, 2001). Among immigrants born abroad,1 six out of ten were employed, but fewer female immigrants than men. Non-western female immigrants have lower incomes compared to immigrant women and men from western countries and in relation to men with non-western backgrounds (Henriksen, 2006). Norway has, despite being perceived as one of the most gender-equal countries in Europe and in spite...

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