The first round of loans, funded by the U.S. Embassy and disbursed through USAID-Tijara Provincial Economic Growth Program, was awarded this week in Erbil, marking the formal launch of the Iraqi Vulnerable Groups Support Initiative (IVGS).
IVGS Initiative will extend small and medium enterprise loans to qualified Iraqi entrepreneurs who have been displaced by civil unrest. Six beneficiaries received loans at the ceremony. So far, 560 borrowers have received a total of $1,842,400 with individual loans averaging $3,300 in size.
Through this initiative, the United States continues to support private sector development and economic growth in Iraq under the auspices of the Strategic Framework Agreement. The IVGS initiative assists minority and disadvantaged business owners who currently have problems borrowing money and is expected to benefit more than 2,000 families.
Mosul Bank borrower Adnan Boutros Baku, a displaced business owner from Hamdniya in Ninewa, will use his ID 10 million ($8,300) to open a glass workshop. “When I heard about the USAID program I was doubtful I would get a loan since I’d never been in a bank before. Now I have money to buy a workbench and different kinds of glass. My plan is to hire an apprentice when I receive my first large order.”
The Iraqi Company for Financing SMEs will provide capital support through private banks in the areas where vulnerable groups are located. Additional U.S. grants will go to microfinance institutions that will lend the funds to qualifying business owners. The program also funds training opportunities to improve the skills and competitiveness of Iraq’s disadvantaged and minority workforce members.
Small and medium enterprise loans offered under this program generally range between ID six million ($5,000) and ID 30 million ($25,000), with smaller loans also available through participating microfinance institutions. Additional information about the IVGS loan program is available from Ashur International Bank, Iraq Middle East Bank, Mosul Bank, Izdiharona Microfinance, Bright Future Foundation and the Al-Thiqa Small Business Loan Fund.