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IFC, Al Majmoua Support Small Businesses and Women Entrepreneurs in Lebanon


In Washington DC:
John McNally


Phone: +1 (202) 458 0723
Email: JMcNally@ifc.org

In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +(202) 2461-4230
E-mail: rmustafa@ifc.org

Beirut, Lebanon, September 25, 2014 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a loan to a leading Lebanese microfinance institution, part of an effort to encourage entrepreneurship and drive economic development in Lebanon.

The $2 million loan will help the Lebanese Association for Development (Al Majmoua) to grow its loan portfolio and expand outreach to small business owners, including female entrepreneurs, and the poor. Around half of Al Majmoua’s clients are located in Bekaa, north Lebanon, and south Lebanon, regions where aspiring entrepreneurs often struggle to get loans and other vital forms of financing.

“This agreement with IFC highlights the importance of the microfinance sector in general, and Al Majmoua’s work in particular in improving financial inclusion for the unbanked,” said Youssef Fawaz, Executive Director of Al Majmoua. “This partnership allows Al Majmoua to continue expanding its outreach in Lebanon, helping improve the economic and social conditions of low-income individuals.”

James Gohary, IFC Manager for the Financial Institutions Group in the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Providing better access to finance those at the bottom of the pyramid will help stimulate growth, create jobs, and reduce poverty. In addition, we believe our investment will help encourage other investors, especially local banks, to fund Lebanon’s microfinance sector and help bridge the financing gap.”

Al Majmoua has been operating since 1994 and is Lebanon’s biggest microfinance institution. It has a market share of just under 50 percent and more than 46,000 active clients, 54 percent of whom are women. It has a well-established branch network, which can be further leveraged to reach out to underserved groups. Lebanon currently has a microfinance penetration rate of about 48 percent, leaving a significant gap to be bridged.

The investment is part of IFC’s strategy in Lebanon, and the wider Middle East and North Africa, to expand financial services to underserved regions and people, including female entrepreneurs. IFC does this in part by supporting leading microfinance institutions that have the capacity to grow.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

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About Al Majmoua
The Lebanese Association for Development - Al Majmoua was established in 1994 by Save the Children and became an independent local NGO in 1998. Al Majmoua’s vision is to “be the leader in creating an inclusive financial system where all people in Lebanon have access to affordable services”. Since its inception, Al Majmoua has disbursed approximately 293,000 loans totaling USD 326 million. Viewing development from an integrated perspective, Al Majmoua also provides free business development services and socially oriented activities with a focus on gender and women empowerment. For more information, please visit www.almajmoua.org