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Swisscontact donations up SFr500,000 in 1999

The development aid organisation, Swisscontact, has benefited from increased media exposure over the last year, leading to a rise in donations. Officials told a news conference in Zurich donations in 1999 were SFr3.5 million - up SFr500,000 on 1999.

The development aid organisation, Swisscontact, has benefited from increased media exposure over the last year, leading to a rise in donations.

Officials told a news conference in Zurich donations in 1999 were SFr3.5 million - SFr500,000 more than in the previous year.

The group, which has been operating for the past 40 years, brings together the private sector with aid projects in developing countries.

Most of the money Swisscontact ploughs into its projects overseas comes from the Swiss private sector, with sponsors including the major banks and insurance companies, along with other industrial concerns.

As part of its pledge to set up vocational development projects, it bases its investment decisions on those business principles used so effectively by its donors, according to Swisscontact chief executive, Urs Egger.

Swisscontact supports vocational development projects abroad, promoting in particular small and medium sized enterprises. Another focus is on environmentally friendly projects, such as working to reduce car exhaust emissions in Indonesia and the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.

It is also now expanding its operations in the financial services sector, helping small locally-owned banks to set up in developing countries; these banks can then deal with small business loans for the local community.

Egger told swissinfo that projects had been going well, and with links to institutions such as the World Bank improving, more and more Swiss businesses were offering their help.

by Tom O'Brien.


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