Microfinance Struggling to find its feet in Middle East
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Microfinance has blossomed in recent years, helping fill a funding need for businesses too tiny and risky for traditional banks. Curiously perhaps, while microfinance has been a big hit across parts of Asia and South America, its start in the Middle East and North Africa hasn’t been as auspicious.
Microfinance institutions have existed in the Middle East since the 1990s. They quickly made strides in countries like Egypt and Morocco, where large, relatively poor populations and pent-up demand for financing fed into growth.
By the late 2000s, though, things stagnated. The number of MENA microfinance loans hardly increased between 2009 and last year, according to Mohammed Khaled, the regional microfinance director for the International Finance Corporation.