AGFUND Confronts Global Financial Crisis Impact on the Poor
AGFUND Confronts Global Financial Crisis Impact on the Poor The Arab Gulf Programe for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND) is confronting the global financial crisis and its impact on the poor by launching a pan-Arab level poverty fighting project. The project previews granting support to small financing institutions, providing training opportunities in alignment with market needs, and technical assistance. This project which will be implemented in collaboration with the Microfinance Network of the Arab Countries (Sanabel) will include a conference, discussion sessions, workshops, and networking opportunities for microcredit professionals. AGFUND will also increase its participation in the field of poverty fighting and support for the weak. Beneficiaries of the programmes initiated by AGFUND with the partnership of small and microcredit institutions number 2.500.000 beneficiary among the poor. AGFUND targets 134 active institutions, to channel small and micro credit services in 2009 and 2010 through the four banks of the poor instituted by Jordan, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain, by applying the AGFUND – Garmin model to fight poverty. The AGFUND – Sanabel project for training and technical assistance aims at the creation of a legal and legislative environment favorable to microcredit, which would support the integration of small enterprises into the overall financial system, advocate microcredit mechanisms best practices, and endorse innovation by bringing success stories and new practices that boost financial products and services under the spotlight. The project also aims at updating the curricula and syllabi of the training courses in microcredit institutions, as well as the coordination and alignment between these institutions. Twelve exchanges were projected between 24 microcredit institutions in Arab countries. Worthy of notice is the fact that AGFUND, presided by Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz, is a proactive organization always concerned with human development issues especially those involving poverty problems. In 2008 AGFUND had an active presence in the area of poverty fighting, through its participation in the Asia-Pacific Regional Microcredit Summit, held in Bali, Indonesia in July and attended by 1000 representative from 40 nations including presidents. This summit provided a meeting opportunity for microcredit providers, parties targeted by this efficient financing mechanism, investors, and granting parties, where they could evaluate the progress achieved, discuss the challenges to be surmounted to achieve goals, design strategies, and develop new goals to be achieved by 2005. AGFUND also participated in the Fifth Conference of Microfinance Network of the Arab Countries (Sanabel) held in Tunis in May 2008, under the slogan “Boosting Microcredit in Arab Nations: Stronger Social Impact through Wholistic Financial Institutions”. This conference was concurrent to the unfortunate events resulting from the rising prices of goods. Different outstanding institutions such as the International Bank and the United Nation Development Programme, had warned against the rising prices of goods which were threatening to wipe out the efforts of a decade of global poverty fighting.