USAID Microfinance Conference in Erbil

The USAID-Tijara Provincial Economic Growth Program in cooperation with Iraq’s 12 microfinance institutions and Iraqi Microfinance Network will hold an Inclusive Financial Services Stakeholders Conference at Hotel Rotana, Erbil, on October 23 and 24, 2012.

The theme of this year’s conference will be “Iraqi Microfinance - The Path to Economic and Social Advancement”.

The conference will bring together leaders from 12 microfinance institutions (MFIs) that provide financial services throughout Iraq. The forum will also include Iraqi policy makers, donors, commercial bankers, regional network, international resource organizations and representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Since 2003, Iraq’s microfinance industry has made 403,765 microloans with a total disbursed value of over $959.3 million as of June 30, 2012. Iraq’s microfinance industry at that date had 93,627 clients, 21% of whom were women, with an outstanding loan portfolio of $143.9 million.

Many borrowers operate subsistence businesses, farms, or cottage industries. Small companies create jobs which contribute to greater stability, economic diversification and prosperity in Iraq.

Participants at the forum will discuss opportunities for making financial services even more inclusive by discussing ways MFIs and the Iraqi microfinance industry as a whole can provide micro loans to larger numbers of the poor.

The forum will discuss the current Iraqi Microfinance legal and regulatory environment, review and plan for growth to the next level of microfinance in the next decade and beyond, reflect on key components such as good governance, social performance, diversified funding sources etc. to better serve the poor including vulnerable groups such as youth and women by developing new, demand-driven products that serve their needs.

UNDP, SANAD Funds, CGAP, Sanabel, Grameen-Jameel from the region along with the NGOs Directorate and Central Bank of Iraq will be among those participating.

For more information visit the Iraqi Microfinance Knowledge Portal at or contact: [email protected]

(Source: USAID)

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