U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Beecroft (pictured) and USAID Deputy Mission Director David Harden celebrated on February 25 the completion of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) five-year, $192 million Provincial Economic Growth Program-Tijara.
Through partnership and joint cooperation with the Iraqi Ministry of Trade, project beneficiaries, and representatives from microfinance institutions, the Tijara project advanced provincial economic development in Iraq by improving access to finance and business development services for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.
The project supported 12 microfinance institutions by extending loan capital, training and technical assistance, resulting in more than 447,000 loans worth one billion dollars and generating more than 220,000 jobs. Tijara also trained more than 8,300 young Iraqis in entrepreneurship and workplace skills. Additionally, USAID worked closely to support Iraqi families, including ethnic and religious minorities and internally displaced persons, by providing 4,270 loans totaling $21.5 million to these vulnerable populations.
During his remarks, Ambassador Beecroft noted that, “the Tijara project was aimed at helping all of the citizens of Iraq to have access to financial services. We believe that every Iraqi should have an opportunity to start a business and a chance to work hard, achieve their dreams and build a future for their family.” USAID’s Harden added, “We are proud to be a part of a project that is improving the lives of so many Iraqis. Along with our Iraqi partners, we helped create a sustainable microfinance industry where entrepreneurs can start or grow their businesses, create jobs, and invest in their country.”
The Provincial Economic Growth Program-Tijara underscores the U.S. commitment to build a prosperous and diversified Iraqi economy as outlined in the U.S.-Iraq the Strategic Framework Agreement.
(Source: Embassy of the United States)