Washington D.C., May 31, 2005 – The
International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World
Bank, today hosted Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan at a forum
on microfinance in the Middle East.
The purpose of the forum, which took place at IFC’s headquarters in Washington,
was to discuss the particular challenges of developing microfinance in
the region. Her Majesty underlined the role of microfinance, which not
only helps small businesses grow strong roots, but nourishes capable, resourceful
people starving for opportunity, cultivating their confidence and reaping
a harvest of hope.
Other speakers included Elizabeth Littlefield, chief executive officer
of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP); Rupert Scofield,
executive director of FINCA; Fouad Abdelmoumni, executive director of Association
Al Amana; Peter Kooi, director of Microfinance of UNCDF; and Aftab Ahmed,
senior manager of microfinance at IFC.
“We are very pleased to be able to host Her Majesty at IFC and to have
such a strong panel of speakers on this important topic,” said Assaad
Jabre, acting executive vice president of IFC. “Microfinance is a powerful
force for helping large numbers of the region’s poorest families, as they
invest in businesses, generate their own jobs, and reduce their vulnerability.
In this year of microcredit, it is important to recognize that the poor
need a range of financial services, not just loans. Depending on their
circumstances, poor people need savings, cash transfers, and insurance,
An Emissary for the 2005 United Nations Year of Microcredit, Queen Rania
has championed initiatives to improve the livelihood of Jordanians from
various sectors of society. One of her special interests is the development
of income-generating projects and advancements in microfinance. She
established the Jordan River Foundation, a nongovernmental organization
that works at the grassroots level to motivate low-income Jordanian families
to participate in economic initiatives.
IFC made its first microfinance investment in 1995 and has since helped
build delivery capacity for microfinance in more than 35 countries around
the world. IFC-supported microfinance institutions today serve more
than 2 million low-income clients around the world.
IFC has also contributed to the creation of the financial infrastructure
that is needed to expand the flow of private sector resources to the microfinance
sector in its developing member countries.
In the Middle East, IFC has been investing in the microfinance sector since
1997. In addition to investment, IFC is providing substantial technical
assistance through its Private Enterprise Partnership in the Middle East
and North Africa. These efforts are helping develop a vibrant sector
for the financing of micro and small businesses across the region.
The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org)
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries,
helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private
sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international
financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
Since its founding in 1956, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of
its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies
in 140 developing countries. IFC’s committed portfolio at the end of FY04
was $17.9 billion, with an additional $5.5 billion held for participants
in loan syndications.
For further information please contact:
Jordan River Foundation www.jordanriver.jo
Association Al Amana www.alamana.org