USAID-Tijara’s Inclusive Financial Services Stakeholders’ Conference began with a pledge to provide greater financial services to people living below Iraq’s poverty line of $2.20 a day and ended with a celebration of innovative loan products that have created or sustained 203,500 jobs since 2003.
Participants at the Nov. 28-30 symposium in Erbil debated new Iraqi laws and procedures for small- and medium-sized enterprises, as well as balancing risks, returns, transparency and opportunities. Sessions covered mobile banking, Islamic (Al Murabaha) lending, alternative collateral options, and the IMFI.org website.
“The success of Iraq can only be assured when all Iraqis are involved in the nation’s economic development,” said Alexandre Deprez, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s deputy mission director in Iraq. “Microfinance not only provides many different financial services, but, more importantly, offers ordinary Iraqis the opportunity for entrepreneurship and an indispensible role in building the nation.”
With over 150 participants and 25 speakers from the Middle East and Central Asia, the Inclusive Financial Services Stakeholders’ Conference was the largest microfinance event ever held in Iraq.
The gathering included microfinance executives, government officials, investors, donors, and speakers from the commercial insurance industry.