AGFUND International Annual Award of Prize Ceremony
AGFUND celebrating the International Annual Award of Prize Ceremony for Pioneering Human Development Projects at the United Nations Office in Geneva. This event is a result of AGFUND continuing focus on human development and humanitarian issues, in a world increasing beset by new and recurrent human crises, every year since 1999. AGFUND Prize awards are given to those who have designed and conducted noteworthy human development initiatives with the most marginal on a specific theme of global interest or topicality. AGFUND has the pleasure to announce the 2016 winners as follow: 1-Enhancing Voluntary Return and Peace-building in Darfur States
- Implemented by: Qatar Charity Organization
- Project location: Sudan
Nominated by: Regulatory Authority for Charitable Activities 2-Empowerment vulnerable Syrian refugees children in Lebanon.
- Implemented by: Dar Al Amal
- Project location: Lebanon
Nominated by: Diakonia – Sweden, Lebanon Country Office.
- Sheltering of Syrian Refugees in Jordan – UAE Camp
- Implemented by: Emirates Red Crescent
- Project location: Syria
Nominated by: Zayed Bin Sultan Humanitarian Foundation. In response to HRH Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz direction to link the prize with the SDGs, the prize’s committee has selected the education as main topic for the 2107 event. In addition, HRH Prince Talal directed the committee to increase the value of the prize from half million to one million dollars as of this year. AGFUND’s Fifth Development Forum AGFUND has been one of the greatest advocate of financial inclusion, and has always been in line with the Millennium Development Goals as well as the new Agenda for Sustainable Development goals. This year Fifth AGFUND Development Symposium carries the theme: “the role of financial inclusion in achieving the 2030 agenda of sustainable development”. The forum has been divided into 4 sessions. The one day forum was extremely fruitful and full of rich presentation and discussions. These have resulted the following recommendations Session 1: National financial inclusion strategies and the achievement of 2030 millennium agenda for sustainable development.
- There is a relationship between National Financial Inclusion Strategies and SDGs. However, the national strategies are not targeting the groups which have been identified by SDGs.
- Financial Strategies and microfinance strategies are considered as enablers and means to an end to achieve SDGs but not end by themselves.
- Only 21% of Arab people have access to formal financial system which makes the Arab countries lagging behind in terms of achieving financial inclusion. The poor level of financial inclusion is not arise because of poor demand by the people, however, this is due to poor involvement of financial institutions
- There is a great potentials for deepen the financial inclusion in the Arab countries. However several constraint and challenges are still exist, among those are the followings: lack of legal framework, lack of supply-demand research, digitization and innovations, motivation of private sector, coordination with the stakeholders and main actors.
Session 2: Innovative products to achieve financial inclusion ad fostering SDGs;
- Sudan Ebdaa bank diversified products (kindergarten, nurse ring ad solar products) to achieve SDGs deserve attention, and GFUND Banks’ products have a lot to give to SDGs (eg. educational products, micro insurance, micro-saving) but need special design.
- AGFUND is leading the market for pro-SDGs products, and There is a possibility of scaling up, expansion and replicability of the SDGs-related products engineered by AGFUND banks. Nevertheless, there are some constraints ahead. Among them are competition, private sector involvement and plans).
Session 3: Microfinance as a mechanism for social and economic integration of refugees
- It is possible, beneficial to refuges and to their contribution to development and growth n the hosting countries to integrate refugees through inclusive finance and enhancing their financial capabilities and linking them to entrepreneurship by different financial and non-financial support services’ models (e.g. financial literacy, technical assistance and capacity building), aiming at protecting and building financial capital and expanding livelihood and supporting of socio-economic wellbeing of refugees .
- Refugees are not a burden to the hosting countries, as they are not isolated, technologically literate, not homogeneous in their skills, diversified in gender and ethnicity, and not all of them have access to humanitarian aid. All of these characteristics are advantages to economic and social integration of refugees and solve to the problem of ‘donors fatigue’.
- There is a recommendation to AGFUND to build a refugee financing services framework that understand the needs of the target group, with partnership with other institutions, donors in countries where AGFUND’s banks are working. These financing services need also to follow agenda of sustainable development, and to work for capacity-building, social inclusion, utilizing what the refugees are doing.
Session 4: The role of donors and private sector in supporting the 2030 MDGs.
- Donors’ contribution to financial inclusion and microfinance projects (such as renewable energy, sustainable villages, financial literacy programmes, etc..on commercial terms or as grants and concessional finance in equity capital, funding microfinance institutions, and Waqf investment fund in the Arab world has started including EIB, IDB, FMO, but more is required.
AGFUND’s Third Advisory Council Meeting. AGFUND’s Advisory Council is headed by HRH Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz, and membership from international experts in microfinance, CEOs of AGFUNDs banks, Businessmen and others. The Council is meant to advice on strategic planning on development issues. This year third meeting held on 19th April to discuss achievements, and future plans. AGFUND’s Commitments AGFUND is declaring the following commitments. (1) AGFUND is committed to establish 14 new Banks for the Poor in five years, eight banks in West Africa and six banks in central Africa. (2) By 2021 AGFUND is committed to disbursing US$ one billions of loans through the existing and upcoming banks. (3) AGFUND is committed to support 1000 refugees to obtain a university degree from the Arab Open University (AOU).