Social Inclusion through Microenterprise Development
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Chapter 2: Microcredit in France: Financial Support for Social Inclusion
1 Stefanie Lämmermann Introduction Two different types of microcredit can be distinguished: microcredit referring to microloans for business start-up and self-employment, and ‘social microcredit’, that is small loans intended to assist excluded persons to borrow money for expenses facilitating their social and economic integration. This chapter deals mainly with business microcredit. ‘Social microcredit’ will be mentioned marginally, as it only began to develop very recently in France. In the same way, the notion of ‘social venture capital’, which more globally designates the funding of socially responsible economic projects and activities through credits, trust loans, guarantees, savings and equity, will be treated separately. National context In the last decade, France has undergone modest economic growth. With an average 2.3 per cent growth in its gross domestic product over the last ten years, France has a slightly lower growth rate than the EU 25 (2.4 per cent). Unemployment has steadily decreased from nearly 11 per cent in 1997 to 7.8 per cent in December 2007, but is still higher than the EU 27 average (6.8 per cent). It is twice as high in the French overseas territories (DOM-TOM) as in France itself. Unemployment is also higher for women than for men, and more than 18 per cent of young persons under the age of 25 are unemployed (EU 27 average: 15.4 per cent).2 This holds especially true for young men and women in the most deprived French urban and suburban areas. Although risk of poverty in France is below the...
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