Monday, April 13, 2009

Grameen-Jameel celebrates milestone

One of the Grameen Bank family of companies, Grameen Jameel celebrates a lending miolestone. Grameen Jameel is an arm of Muhammad Yunus' Grameen Bank that gives microcredit loans through the Arab world.

From Al Bawaba, comes this profile of the company.

Two years after being launched as the first poverty-focused social business in the Arab world, Grameen-Jameel Pan-Arab Microfinance Limited (Grameen-Jameel) is celebrating significant milestones that are helping to transform microfinance’s impact across the Arab World.

Through its Guarantee Fund, Grameen-Jameel has brokered more than US$ 44 million in financing for microfinance institutions, including several landmark transactions that are opening new opportunities for microfinance institutions in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Tunisia. It was the first company to obtain financial leverage on a guarantee in Egypt for its partner, Dakahlya Businessmen’s Association for Community Development, and the first to facilitate a commercial debt facility in Syria for First Microfinance Institution. It has also awarded 312 scholarships for microfinance practitioners to participate in major regional and international training events, which has enabled them to build a peer network to share their expertise and learn from leading institutions in the field.

Fadi Jameel, Grameen-Jameel board member and president of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Services International, says: “The potential microfinance industry in the Arab world is estimated at US$ 5.5 billion and we are already over one third of the way toward our 2011 target of actively helping one million poor people throughout the Arab world exit poverty.”

In 2008 alone, Grameen-Jameel’s partners added more than 110,000 new clients, an increase of 46 per cent over new clients Grameen-Jameel had impacted through its partner relationships as of 2007.

Jameel explained: “This program is about empowering the poor. In most cases, microfinance loans are used by individuals to build a business for themselves. Whether a Jordanian woman uses her skills to produce embroidered gifts, or a group in Morocco sells farm produce, they are making every effort to ensure their micro-business is a success. Escaping from the chains of poverty is an extremely powerful motivation to make these investments succeed.”

Founded in 2007, Grameen-Jameel established its head office in Dubai’s International Humanitarian City in February 2008. Inspired by the work of Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Muhammad Yunus, in Bangladesh, Grameen-Jameel was created as a social business by US-based Grameen Foundation and Saudi Arabia's Bab Rizq Jameel Limited, a subsidiary of Abdul Latif Jameel Group. The organisation has established strong relationships with twelve microfinance institutions in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, and most recently in Palestine. The organisation’s partners have benefited from its commitment to improving industry standards throughout the region.

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