SANAD Starts Partnership with ASALA to Expand Financial Inclusion for Women in the Palestinian Territories
A USD 1.5 million loan provides financing for women entrepreneurs with limited financial resources
Luxembourg and Ramallah, the Palestinian Territories, 17 January 2017 – The SANAD Fund for MSME (SANAD) has signed a USD 1.5 million loan contract with the Palestinian microfinance institution Asala for Credit and Development Company (Asala). SANAD’s newest partner focuses on women with micro and small income-generating activities, particularly in rural areas and the agricultural sector.
More than 97% of Asala’s clients are women, and the company almost exclusively serves this particular target group through nine offices in the West Bank and Gaza. Asala was established in its current form as a for-profit microfinance company in 2014 by the Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association and the Palestinian Sharakat Investment Fund. Adapting to recent changes in the regulatory environment for the microfinance sector in the Palestinian Territories has reinvigorated the lender and enabled it to expand its lending activities.
SANAD Board Chairman Mr. Wolfgang Reuss said: “We are very pleased to team up with Asala, especially given its focus on the underbanked sector of female entrepreneurs. Asala is an excellent fit for SANAD and a strong supporter of our mission to build inclusive financial systems.”
Ms. Reem Abboushi, Executive Director of Asala, said: “Asala’s team is proud of this cooperation and partnership. SANAD’s support will help Asala reach more Palestinian women and enable them to become economically viable. The SANAD loan will be disbursed as hundreds of micro and small loans to women and youth in marginalized areas, especially those who are unable to secure proper financing.”
Ms. Abboushi added: “Asala focuses on empowering Palestinian women to enable them to reach better social and economic potentials and have sustainable jobs and income to support their families. Asala’s diversified, appropriate and well-designed loan products make it one of the leading microfinance institutions focusing on women empowerment. Asala and its predecessor, the Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association, have disbursed a total of more than USD 53.2 million in loans to 34,500 women entrepreneurs.”
The SANAD Fund for MSME (SANAD) was established in 2011 to foster economic development and create jobs, particularly for youth in the Middle East and North Africa. SANAD strives to meet these goals by providing debt and equity financing to local partner institutions, such as commercial banks, microfinancers, and other financial institutions, who on-lend money to support micro, small and medium enterprises and to finance housing. The SANAD Technical Assistance Facility multiplies the fund’s development impact and outreach through capacity-building at partner institutions, developing financial infrastructures according to the principles of responsible finance and conducting much required R&D. SANAD’s investors include the KfW Development Bank, which initiated the fund, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the European Union, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), and OeEB, the Development Bank of Austria. A public-private partnership, the fund is advised by Finance in Motion GmbH, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. For more information, please visit: www.sanad.lu.
Asala for Credit and Development Company is a specialized Palestinian credit company working to enhance and empower women and youth through the provision of suitable financial services (loans). These services help recipients start or improve their small businesses and secure sustainable jobs, thereby contributing to poverty alleviation in Palestine.
Asala for Credit and Development Company was founded in compliance with the new banking law of Palestine, which includes specialized lending institutions. The banking law and the Palestine Monetary Authority’s regulations required that all credit programs should be registered as private shareholding companies. The Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association transferred all of its loan portfolio, assets and liabilities to Asala for Credit and Development shareholding company and benefitted from a valuable cash investment from Sharakat Investment Fund, an MSME oriented fund co-financed and managed by the Palestine Investment Fund. Asala registered and received its license in 2014. For more information, please visit: www.asala.ps