A new independent world bank, sponsored initially by the World Council of Churches to make low-interest loans to Third World projects lacing access to usual international funding sources, became legally operative here upon receipt of assurances from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that U.S. trust fund money can be used to buy shares in the new enterprise.
At the first general meeting of the Society (EDCS), held here in conjunction with the 1977 central committee sessions of the WCC, announcement was made of the commission's action that will release pledged money from the United States and move the fund above the $1 million mark required by the central committee before operations can begin.
Ninety-two church organizations were admitted as shareholders in addition to the original two (the WCC and the Netherlands Council of Churches). This brought the operating capital to $1,103,711 (U.S.).
Establishment of the EDCS, authorized in 1974, was motivated by the fact that international financial institutions cannot reach the poorest of the poor - those who cannot satisfy the conditions set forth by such institutions as the World Bank. The work of council agencies has given the churches contact and experience with such people.
The EDCA interim board appointed Adrian Wijemanne of Sri Lanka as executive director. The Rev. Frederick Bronkema was elected as the EDCS representative in the United States.
A new board of nine directors includes representatives from the Netherlands, Sweden, the United States (2), Ghana, India, Indonesia, Lebanon and the World Council. The society has its registered offices in Amsterdam.
One of the first projects to be supported is a request for funds from a fishermen's cooperative in Ghana. The funds would provide refrigeration facilities and provide secure jobs.