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Al-Kahtani: The Success of Ebda’a Bank in Sierra Leone stimulates the duplication of the AGFUND model

PUBLISHED ON
16 Dec 2011
CATEGORY
Financial Inclusion
AGFUND Establishes the First of its Banks in Africa based on the principle of “Support of the Poor to the Poor “ The Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND), Chaired by HRH Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz, declared the launching of the first bank for the poor outside the Arab Region. Mr. Nasser Bakr Al-Kahtani, the CEO of AGFUND, said that efforts of AGFUND were very successful in disseminating significantly this experience for establishing the Banks for the Poor and the wide-spreading of the culture of microfinance to West Africa. The Ebda’a Bank (Innovation and Partnership Bank) in Sierra Leone, has released out its first phase by providing 37 loans to women planning to start their own small projects that fight poverty. A small celebration on this occasion has been held in the capital, Tananarive to give these women their loan money, a cash amount that is expected to open for them new horizons of hope for a better future. It is definitely worth mentioning that the bank for the poor in Sierra Leone provides all kind of financial services available in other Agfund’s banks for the poor. These financial services that are sponsored by AGFUND, represent all sorts of crediting, savings and insurance services. Mr. Al-Kahtani has further pointed out that the idea of AGFUND in establishing a bank for the poor in Sierra Leone was very warmly welcomed and supported by President Ernest Bai Koroma as well as by the private sector. The Sierra Leone Central Bank provided the bank for the poor with an extremely wide range of facilities to enable it to practice its activities. Mr. Al-Kahtani has also expressed his recognition to “every single person that supported the project” that he described as being a project that reflects cooperation between the poor and promotes principle of “support of the poor to the poor”. This particularly is the vision that HRH Prince Talal is so keen to apply in all of AGFUND’s policies. Mr. Al-Kahtani clarified his previously mentioned ideas by affirming that the Bank of Sierra Leone should benefit fundamentally from the experiences of other AGFUND’s banks, like Al-Amal Microfinance Bank in Yemen that is offering logistic aids. Consequently, Banks for the poor in Sierra Leone must also benefit from this experience and reduce the time needed for the establishing phase. The CEO of the Arab Gulf Program for Development, went on explaining that “AGFUND’s Model” for enhancing the principle of fighting poverty through mechanisms of microfinance, is derived from Prince Talal’s initiative in establishing banks for the poor in the Arab region. These principles are represented in: – Stimulating the role of governments in creating an environment that is suitable for micro and small enterprises. – Providing non-financial services such as for instance the ( preparation – technical support – linking between the financing institutions and also incubation). In accordance with this model, AGFUND had previously established four other banks for the poor in Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria, and is on the way to establish banks for the poor in Lebanon and Sudan. Mr.Al-Kahtani has expressed finally his belief that one of the concrete and expected achievements was actually felt in the remarkable demand for loans provided by the Innovation and Partnership Bank (Ebda’a Bank) in Sierra Leone. This is a real indicator to the possibility of a further diffusion of other banks like the Sierra Leone bank, in the African region. He ended up saying: “This expectation is part of AGFUND’s plans, aiming on targeting by the end of the year 2015, five million beneficiaries from small and microfinance loans provided by the banks for the poor. These amounts include the estimated developments in both of the Arab and the African regions.

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