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 14: Microcredit in Belgium

Annika Cayrol and Jean Marchand


Annika Cayrol and Jean Marchand* 1 National context Belgium is no exception to recent worldwide interest in microcredit; the national context is favourable to microcredit. Indeed, even if Belgium is considered a rich and industrialized country – number 24 worldwide for its quality of life according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index1 in 2005 – poverty still exists. The figures2 from 2005 indicate that the poverty risk percentage is at 14.7 per cent, which represents more than 1.5 million Belgians. The sectors of the population that are more at risk seem to be women (15.5 per cent versus 14 per cent men) and elderly people over 65 years old (20.6 per cent). Moreover, single parents (35.1 per cent) tend to be more at risk than families or couples. Finally, being employed appears to be a clear parameter in helping to avoid poverty. Indeed, employed people only have a poverty risk percentage of 3.9 per cent, while the unemployed are at 30.7 per cent and the retired at 18.4 per cent. Compared to the European average, which lies at 16 per cent3 according to the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Belgium has slightly fewer people at risk of poverty (15.2 per cent). According to Prof. Dr Rainer Trinczek (Trinczek, 2007) from the Technical University of Munich, ‘it is a proven fact that employment not only reduces the poverty risk but also the general risk of social exclusion, as work is a major means for social integration’. Therefore, one way to include...

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