Monday, November 06, 2006

Microfinance clients rise tenfold in Mena region since 1999

The number of active micro-finance clients in the Mena region increased tenfold between 1999 and 2006 and the outstanding micro-finance portfolio now stands at $349 million, officials told a seminar yesterday.

Planet Finance, a non-profit organization and the organizers of Dubai's first micro-finance conference, said the number of active micro-finance clients in the Middle East and North Africa increased to approximately 1.5 million in 2006 from 129,000 in 1999.

A majority of these clients are micro entrepreneurs working in the informal sector. Sixty one per cent of the clients are women and 22 per cent live in rural areas, it said in a presentation.

It estimated the outstanding micro-finance portfolio at $349 million by the end of October 2005.

Six institutions, three in Egypt and three in Morocco, serve 60 per cent of all clients in the region and 77 per cent of all active loans are concentrated in Egypt, Morocco and the Palestinian Territories.


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