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Prince Talal highly praised the leadership Approach towards Expanding the Women Job Opportunities

PUBLISHED ON
11 Jan 2012
CATEGORY
Financial Inclusion
A Symposium held by AGFUND in Riyadh calls for the establishment of Banks for the Poor in Saudi Arabia Prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz, president of the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND) expressed his aspiration to see a bank for the poor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and he said: “It comes on head and above of my heart wishes that there would be a bank for the poor in this country” His highness was speaking in a symposium under the theme of “Microfinance and Social Business”that was held in Riyadh on Wednesday, January 11. The symposium was organized by AGFUND in cooperation with the Council of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce. Prince Talal also noted that he is very keen that the Saudi citizen shall benefit out of AGFUND’s activities since Saudi Arabia is the major supporter of AGFUND and contributes by 90% of its financial resources. The symposium witnessed a lot of interpositions by men and women that focused on the feasibility of establishing the banks for the poor in Saudi Arabia. Some of them said that the country was in real need of more than one bank of this kind, in addition to the importance of working on finding legislations that meet the need for banks as such. Referring to the objectives of the microfinance banks, Prince Talal said: “The banks for the poor are not charity, they are a developmental business”. He also reminded the attendants that the Custodian of the Two Holly Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, has himself started fighting poverty in Saudi Arabia when he has announced the presence of poverty and also paid a visit to some of these poor in their houses. His Highness described the approach of King Abdullah by being a new initiative to snatch this category form misery and retardation. He also highly praised the care of the Saudi leadership for increasing the job opportunities for women, referring in this regard to the directions and decisions that have been issued about limiting the work on only the women in the ladies’ stuff markets and added that these projects are essential. Prince Talal has also said that “building a human being should be on top of the list of this country’s priorities and that this building starts normally with a good education that is founded mainly in the KG department. His Highness noted the role of the minister of Education who has started to pay more attention to the education in the KG department. In the same manner, Prince Talal expressed his pride that AGFUND serves the human development all over the world regardless of races and nationalities and said that: “a human being is simply a human being no matter where he is and this is what our religion-Islam-calls for”. His Highness said that when he started his human activity which doesn’t differentiate between people, he has consulted Sheikh Bin Baz who has really supported him in this regard. In addition to that, His Highness expressed his sorrow that some people still don’t see these established facts. The symposium has started its works by some presentations of the banks for the poor that have been established by the Arab Gulf Program in line with the initiative led by Prince Talal to establish banks for the poor in the Arab world. The CEO of AGFUND, Nasser Bakr Al-Qahtani has spoken of the outcome of the Prince Talal’s initiative and the future horizons of microfinance in the region. In this Symposium, Sulayman Jasser AL-Habrash, the Director General of the OPEC Fund for international development, has also spoken, focusing mainly on “power lack” referring in this regard to the cooperation of his organization with AGFUND in order to introduce this developmental concept. Likewise, he also said that both organizations are on their way towards holding a workshop about the role of the donating bodies in fulfilling the essential needs of the poor through the mechanism of microfinance, and in the same manner introducing and making known the developmental role played by the microfinance institutions in the lives of the poor in the developing countries. From his side, Dr. Fahd Al-Sultan, General Secretary of the Councils of Saudi Chambers of Commerce, has spoken about the role played by the private sector in supporting the social business via microfinance; whereas Dr. Ahmed Muhammad Ali, President of the Islamic Bank for Development Group, has presented some general traits of the contributions made by the group in supporting the industry of microfinance and Islamic finance also. Professor Muhammad Yunus, instigator of the banks for the poor in the world has focused in his speech on the power of microfinance in achieving real development. In the same manner, he stated also that the microfinance banks have strongly withstood the global financial crises that hit the bastions of capitalist economy, in the time that many other major banks have actually fallen apart. He added that “Grameen, America that was launched in 2008 has continued in lending people at the time that the major banks have fallen apart” Yunus has warned those who say that getting out of the financial crisis can only be achieved by returning back to the same situations that were found before the crisis, ensuring that this means falling again in the same hole or rather gap. The international economist expressed his belief that the main reason behind this crisis is an economic system that works for the sake of the rich and that finding a way out of this crisis necessitates the formulation of a system that actually works for the best interest of the poor. Yunus has revealed a very strong conviction of the abilities of the microfinance in putting right the circumstances of the poor and turning them from searchers for jobs to providers of work opportunities. In this regard, he referred to Grameen Bank that he has established in Bangladesh to offer small loans. Prof. Yunus said that now the entire bank is owned by the poor, the number of whom is 8.3 million Bangladesh people, 98% out of whom are women. Yunus made it clear that microfinance has developed so fast in accordance with the needs of the society different categories, and that there are now specialized companies that offer services and products which the poor actually need. These companies are the “social business” companies. He also mentioned that this kind of companies is now wide-spreading in America, Germany and Japan. He added additionally saying: “Social business is an investment that can be directed towards problem solving”

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