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AGFUND’s Banks for the Poor open up new horizons for youth in loans and employment

PUBLISHED ON
05 Mar 2011
CATEGORY
Financial Inclusion
Kahtani: Outstanding success in developing new products in the lending market The Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND) announced that its chain of the Banks for the Poor is making steady growth and they are realizing socio-economic revenues. The recent report on the National Microfinance Bank in Jordan reveals that the financial and operating status of the bank is excellent. Such position allowed the bank to cover its expenses and expand its pioneering and social activities. AGFUND’s Executive Manager, Nasser Al-Kahtani, who participated in the board meetings of the National Microfinance Bank in Jordan and the Technical Committee of AGFUND Microfinance Units stated that the achievement recorded by the bank in providing services to the target segments is an excellent indicator that the Banks for the Poor have realized their strategic objectives. This is especially manifested by the fact that the percent of beneficiary women from the bank loans and services in order to set up projects which were a turning point in their lives reached 92%. By the end of 2010, the number of loans granted by the bank was 92.859, with a total amount of USD 89 million. This service provides 130 job opportunities,  and beneficiary families reached 464 thousand people. It is expected that the Bank shall grant 36 thousand loans with a total amount of USD 31.3 million in 2011. Al-Kahtani pointed out that the success of the initiative of His Highness Prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz to set up banks for the poor was a catalyst for developing new products in the lending market in the Arab world. He indicated that AGFUND banks are achieving tremendous breakthroughs in this field as he made reference to the international award granted to Al-Amal Microfinance Bank in Yemen. In the Arab world, Banks for the Poor are attempting to attract young men either by giving them the chance to make use of the banking services or employing fresh graduates. The National Bank intends to increase job opportunities of fresh graduates at a percent of 47% during the current year. The delegation of the Arab Gulf Programme for Development Organizations (AGFUND) chaired by the Executive Manager,  participated in the board meetings of the National Microfinance Bank in Jordan and the Technical Committee of AGFUND Microfinance Units held in Amman from February 22 through 23, 2011. AGFUND Unit meeting discussed the provision of technical support to develop new credit products in the lending market in the Arab world. It has been agreed that Al-Amal Microfinance Bank in Yemen shall sponsor the trial product as the bank represents an authority in this field. The meeting adopted the development of standards, policies and procedures related to AGFUND credit facilities and it studied the documents of the Banks for the Poor in Palestine, Sudan and Egypt to provide them to the competent authorities in each country with the ultimate goal of obtaining a license to practice microfinance. Kahtani: The Launch of Syrian Ebdaa Bank is Evidence of Development Awareness AGFUND Raises its Balance in Poverty and Unemployment Combat in the Arab World with 2 Million Beneficiaries Of  Microfinance and 550 Job Opportunities AGFUND “The great foster by Syria for poverty combat”, the belief of the government and private sector in the role of micro and small loans in promotion of human development and the fusion of important society tiers in development mobility. The Executive Manager of AGFUND Nasser Qahtani declared that the directives of the Syrian leadership to give the priority to a bank project serves the poor and to accelerate its approval procedures was the greatest incentive behind the launch of the Syrian Ebdaa Bank the last week, in cooperation between AGFUND and the Syrian government and the Syrian private sector. Qahtani described the announcement of the launch of Ebdaa Bank in Syria is “an expression of the development awareness of importance of this kind of banks in financing the real development”. He ensured that efforts of AGFUND will continue to achieve its strategic objectives aiming at poverty combat in the Arab region, in fulfillment of the vision of Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz, AGFUND President, and in realization of his initiative of poverty combat in the Arab region through the establishment of banks for the poor, considering that poverty is one of the most prominent obstacles that hinders the development process. The declarations of Qahtani came after his participation in the conference of the launch of Ebdaa Bank in Syria on August 19. It is the bank which targets enhancing the economic and social positions and raise the standard of living for the families of low and limited income. Syrian Ebdaa Bank is considered the fifth of the chain of banks for the poor that AGFUND is working to set up in the Arab and African states. The Bank was set up in Jordan, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain. It is anticipated that Syrian Ebdaa Bank becomes a sustainable financial institution capable of proving itself in the local market and handle its social responsibilities out of the obligation to provide the best financial services to the poor as per the best international practices in micro-finance through the tight plan developed by the Bank to be carried out within the following five years and involves the opening of 40 branches of the Bank Syria-wide, providing 407,000 loans and opening 450,000 saving accounts which means reaching more than 2 million beneficiaries. This is beside the new job opportunities provided by the Bank for more than 550 professional employees in the field of micro-finance. Noteworthy, the private sector is a key participant in the Bank represented by a group of businessmen from inside and outside Syria, the most prominent of whom is Memaar Investment Co., Mr. Al-Motaz Al-Sawaf, Mr. Hasan Al-Gabry, Dr. Mohamed Hamour beside the contribution of the Syrian government represented in the General Authority of Operation and Projects Development. In respect of the future of the banks for the poor experiment in the Arab states, Qahtani said that HRH Prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz directed the generalization of this successful experiment in all Arab states upon the provision of the laws and legislations regulating the work of such banks and of a private sector secured by social responsibility as a key partner.

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