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Netherlands based social development fund chosen by global audience as most innovative

The three Prizewinners of the Public Choice Award on stage with President Obama, South Korean President Lee and Prime Minister Harper of Canada. Second on the right Chairman of the MCF Onno Schellekens

Amsterdam, November  12 2010 – The Dutch Medical Credit Fund, founded and managed by Netherlands based PharmAccess Foundation, received a prestigious award for its innovative financing model to improve African health care. US President Barack Obama presented the award at the G20 summit in Seoul.

“I am very pleased that we have been able to launch this concrete program through the G20 that is making a difference in people’s lives,” Obama said. “Between the Koreans, Canadians, and the U.S., we are going to contribute $528 million to put into practice some of the extraordinary ideas that are represented by the winners, and to boost the actual work they are already doing.”

The award
The Medical Credit Fund participated in the SME Finance Challenge, an initiative of the G20 to promote the best public-private partnerships worldwide that improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

According to the G20, SMEs are the single largest contributor to employment and job creation in emerging economies, but they lack access to finance. Less than 20 percent of SMEs worldwide have access to investment capital, as the financial sector considers the risk involved too high. For that reason, initiatives such as the Medical Credit Fund are essential.

A jury of eight renowned experts selected 14 winning organizations out of 350 contributions from 75 different countries. The public then voted on their favorite solutions to help SMEs overcome the major obstacle of access to finance. The Medical Credit Fund received the People’s Choice Award together with two initiatives from Germany and the United States.

Onno Schellekens, Chairman of the MCF, is handed the Public Chioce Award

The Medical Credit Fund
The Medical Credit Fund is a social financing fund that introduces a new approach in sustainable improvement of private health care in Africa. The fund enables private health care suppliers, such as small clinics, laboratories, doctors and midwives to obtain affordable loans, and provides them with financial and technical assistance. The partners receiving the loans learn how to improve the quality of their services and management. Follow-on financing is linked to improvements in the availability and quality of the health care, which is measured based on international standards.

In many African countries public health care is insufficient. The quality of the care is often low and the capacity is limited. Private, mostly small health care providers play an important role and are responsible for more than 50% of total medical care. However, they experience great difficulties in obtaining loans. As a result, growth, quality improvement and professional management are hampered. Better utilization of the private health care sector will relieve the burden on public health care and enhance the entire health care system.

In April 2010, HRH princess Maxima visited the MCF-program in Tanzania in her role as ‘Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development’ of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In her speeches the princess regularly underlines the importance of innovative and accessible financing mechanisms.

President Obama shakes hands with MCF Chairman Onno Schellekens on stage of the G20 Summit in Seoul

First reactions
Dutch Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Ben Knapen: “It’s great that the Medical Credit Fund received this award. The MCF, developed with co-support from our ministry, stimulates health care entrepreneurs in developing countries in an innovative way. A properly functioning financial sector in these countries is crucial for economic growth. The award proves that the Netherlands is a front runner in the quest for innovative solutions for the private sector in developing countries.’

Monique Dolfing, executive director of MCF: “We cherish this award as a token of appreciation of the way we work and of the unrelenting efforts of our staff and partners. The substantial fund of over 500 million US dollars already announced by the G20 will be an important catalyst for the SME sector in Africa and for the work of the winning organizations including the MCF. Additional MCF funding will enable us to provide more loans to small and medium-size clinics and via them enable more people to have access to health care in Africa.”

Media contact
For more information about the Medical Credit Fund and the G20 competition, please contact:

Monique Dolfing-Vogelenzang, director MCF: + 31 20 566 8470, +31 6 23468077;
m.dolfing@medicalcreditfund.org

You may also visit:
http://www.medicalcreditfund.org
http://www.pharmaccess.org
http://www.changemakers.com/SME-Finance