Prince Talal calls the Arabs to Legislative Reforms that Open Way for Banks that Meet the Requirements of the Poor
Approved AGFUND’s Share in the Capital of “Ebdaa Bank” in Lebanon The Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND) has started the last phase in launching the sixth microcredit bank and granting loans to the poor within the framework of its project of establishing the banks for the poor in the Arab and African world. In the headquarters of the Arab Gulf Program situated in Riyadh, the president of AGFUND, Prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz, has on Monday 19 December 2011, signed the accreditation of AGFUND’s share in Ebdaa microcredit bank in Lebanon. In accordance with the founding agreement, the program shall contribute with a cash amount of two million dollars in the capital allotted for the bank. Last October, Prince Talal has declared the approval of Lebanon Central Bank to the establishment of a bank for the poor as well as starting off with the other practical steps so that the bank can practice its activity under the theme of “Innovation for Providing Approved AGFUND’s Share in the Capital of “Ebdaa Bank” in Lebanon Microcredit”. Prince Talal has also confirmed that the project of the banks for the poor which comes under the leadership of AGFUND, meets the actual requirements of the poor categories that are capable of further giving in the Arab societies. His Highness drew the attention to the fact that the pace of this project and the speed of its implementation as well as the application of the microcredit mechanisms are to a great extent contingent upon Arab legislative reforms that adopt the micro-crediting and also grant green light for the central banks to give permission for founding banks that serve the poor away from the commercial banks’ policies and conditions which actually far more impede the poor than grant them means for a better life. By accomplishing this step, the project of the bank for the poor in Lebanon would have entered the last of the foundation phases, one that is represented in paying the shares of the founding partners, who – specifically speaking – are AGFUND and the private sector in Lebanon. This step, long awaited by those whom the project serves in Lebanon, comes at the same time that AGFUND’s project of microcredit banks witnesses a vertical and horizontal growth, as the four of AGFUND’s current banks in each of Jordon, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria record outstandingly remarkable levels of success and accomplishment of objectives as well as serving the targeted category. Up till now, the number of benefiters out of the microcredit provided via AGFUND’s banks has reached more than two million Arab citizens. As far as the horizontal expansion is concerned, this December witnessed the opening of the first of AGFUND’s banks outside of the Arab region, as the bank has been established in the Republic of Sierra Leone, and is enlisted as the fifth bank in the Arab Gulf Program bank series. The bank comes in an indication that the umbrella of the microcredit is expanding to be also inclusive of the poor in Africa. As an integral part of AGFUND’s strategy for the year 2012, comes the completion of founding the bank for the poor in Sudan, as the central bank there has already agreed to establish the bank. It is definitely worth mentioning that the efforts are continued with those who are responsible in Egypt, in an attempt to found a bank for the poor that follows the AGFUND model which was applied in founding each of the other six banks. The endeavors of AGFUND have actually reached very advanced stages for founding similar banks in each of Palestine, Mauritania, morocco and Djibouti.