This article was originally posted on Wamda.com. Read the full article here.
>>by Archana Menon | April 3, 2016
“The Arab world has the lowest level of financial inclusion.”
This was the statement made by Dr. Abdulrahman Al Hamidi, director general and chairman of the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) at the opening of the 18th Microcredit Summit in Abu Dhabi in March.
He cited World Bank data stating that 16 to 17 million small businesses in the Arab region have no access to financing and official financial services.
The theme of the summit, “Frontier Innovations in Financial Inclusion,” attracted 1,000 delegates from 60 countries. Jointly organized by the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, the Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND), and the Microcredit Summit Campaign, the event was held March 14-17.
What is microcredit?
Microcredit is defined by the Grameen Bank as small loans given to the very poor for self-employment projects that generate income, allowing them to care for themselves and their families. For Larry Reed, [director*] of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, the goal of the summit was to gather professionals and remind them how their work fits into a larger global movement.
“One of the lessons we learn from microfinance is that every person can be productive in some way,” Reed explained. “And that everyone benefits when the poorest are able to support themselves.”
With policymakers, bank managers and microfinance experts in attendance, the Summit’s plenary sessions tackled the challenges of technology and financial inclusion, Islamic microfinance, scaling for social impact, and facilitating financial inclusion of youth and women.
*Correction: the Wamda article cites Larry Reed’s position as that of founder; in fact he is the director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign.