Spain extends 9m euros to Jordan's microfinance companies

Feb 2008
Jordan, February, 06 2008 - The Spanish government extended on Tuesday soft loans totalling nine million euros to support Jordan's microfinance sector which generates up to 20 per cent of the Kingdom's gross domestic product (GDP).

Under two agreements signed at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the Spanish Agency for Cooperation and Development (AECID) provided the National Microfinance Bank (NMB) with five million euros and the Micro Credit Company (Tamweelcom) with four million euros.

Planning and International Cooperation Minister Suhair Al-Ali said at the signing ceremony Spanish financial assistance will enhance and enable the two institutions reach out to people in remote areas.

"The ministry is keen on channelling financial support to the microfinance sector, which is backed by Her Majesty Queen Rania due to its role in enhancing socio-economic living standards of people, especially women," Al-Ali said.

The minister underlined the government's support of this vital sector and its collaboration with funding agencies to carry out impact assessment studies so that financial and technical assistance can be secured for microfinance institutions.

"The ministry has provided the Development and Employment Fund with a JD5 million grant to enable microfinance institutions lend people wishing to start or develop microfinance projects," Al-Ali added.

Spanish Ambassador to the Kingdom Manuel Lorenzo, who signed the agreements with Tamweelcom's Chairman Sharif Shaker Ben Zeid and NMB's Vice Chairman Tareq Awad, said his government's support will remarkably touch low-income people's lives.

"At least 19,000 microenterprises, which are traditionally excluded from the formal credit system, will benefit from this support generating income to some 100,000 low-income families in rural areas," Lorenzo said at the event.

Microcompanies share an important quota of the Jordanian economy as some 200,000 companies, over 50 per cent of which are managed by women, adequately contribute to the GDP, the ambassador said.

"Since the microcompanies started in the 1990s, Jordan demonstrated successful microfinance projects as it has become a reference in the Middle East for its support and good governance at both the private and public sectors to this domain," Lorenzo added.

Source : Jordan Times

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