LAHORE - Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and Citi Foundation on Tuesday announced the launching of Citi-PPAF Micro entrepreneurship Awards (CMA) 2009 program at a local hotel here. CE/MD PPAF Kamal Hyat, Citi Country Officer/Managing Director Arif Usmani, Chief Strategy Officer PPAF Ahmad Jamal and Operating officer PPAF Kamran Akbar were present on this occasion. Huzoor Buz and Kubra Asghar, national male and female winners for CMA 2008, were also present to share their experiences. Speakers on the occasion said that the objective of the CMA programs is to highlight and promote the effective role micro finance plays in poverty alleviation. They said that the program seeks to generate recognition for extraordinary contributions that individual micro entrepreneurs have made to economic sustainability of their families as well as their communities. Speakers said that this year awards worth over $750,000 would be presented in the categories of Best National Micro-entrepreneur Male, 'Best National Micro-entrepreneur Female and four Best Provincial Micro-entrepreneurs, with one runner-up for each category. They said that the special recognition awards will be also given to the respective Loan Officers and representatives of Micro finance Institutions at an elaborate event planned for later this year. Applications received from micro finance institutions under the above mentioned categories will be screened before being passed on to members of an independent advisory panel for final interview of candidates to decide winners and runners-up. Since 2005, awards are being organized with the collaboration of PPAF in Pakistan. The CMA programs are being held in 18 countries in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Turkey, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela. Specific goals of CIVIA program are to raise awareness about micro finance, particularly among micro entrepreneurs who could benefit from it, to recognize and celebrate the contributions that micro entrepreneurs bring to the world economy and to highlight best practices in micro entrepreneurship. The awards also aim at raising awareness and support for micro entrepreneurs by highlighting their talents and accomplishments among the investment and donor community throughout the world. These awards are also meant to create the next generation of micro finance networks, build more inclusive financial sectors and lay foundation for a flourishing micro finance industry. The CMA program is held annually to recognize and reward leadership, entrepreneurial skills and best practices of individual micro entrepreneurs at national, provincial and regional level. This program aims at creating awareness regarding the effectiveness of micro finance as a tool in fight against the poverty besides encouraging the award winning micro entrepreneurs.