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A Boost for Microfinance in the Arab World

Peter McConaghy's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

A Boost for Microfinance in the Arab World

Microfinance – defined as the access to and usage of quality financial services, including savings, credit, insurance and money transfer systems - is crucial for low-income households to manage cash flows to finance day-to-day living, manage risks, invest productively, and respond to financial shocks.

The low levels of financial inclusion in the Middle East and North Africa region, however, have left many with limited access to any sort of financial services. This is especially true for certain groups such as women and young people. 

Video: Why is the World Bank in Libya?

Marouane El Abassi's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

From the World Bank office in Tripoli, Representative Marouane El Abassi outlines his commitment to helping Libya build a new state, with a strategy that ensures the right skills and expertise are delivered at the right time.

Islamic Finance and Financial Inclusion: A Case for Poverty Reduction in the Middle East and North Africa?

Amin Mohseni-Cheraghlou's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

Islamic Finance and Financial Inclusion: A Case for Poverty Reduction in the Middle East and North Africa?

The Middle East and North Africa region is home to about 70 million of the world’s poor (living on less than two dollars per day) and 20 million of the world’s extremely poor (living on less than US$1.25 per day). According to a recent Gallup survey, 95 percent of the adults residing in MENA define themselves as religiously observant. The combination of these two facts has produced a growing interest in Islamic finance as a possible tool for reducing poverty through financial inclusion among the region’s religiously conscious Muslim population.

Growth slowdown in five MENA countries extends into 2013

Lili Mottaghi's picture
Also available in: العربية
        World Bank

This week’s mass demonstrations in Egypt and assassination of an opposition leader in Tunisia -- not to mention the continuing conflict in Syria -- highlight the turmoil and uncertainty facing many countries in the Middle East and North Africa.To track the effects of these and other developments on the economy, the MENA Quarterly Economic Brief provides a real-time review, using high-frequency data, of five countries that are at risk of sluggish economic growth in 2013. 

Better together: a new regional platform to improve public service delivery

Yolanda Tayler's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

World Bank

Whether constructing a new bridge or buying textbooks for a public school, governments around the world constantly purchase a wide variety of goods and services. In the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, these types of public contracts represent between 15 percent and 20 percent of GDP each year, an annual amount equal to tens of billions of US dollars.

Video: Helping Jordan and Lebanon cope with influx of Syrian refugees

Ferid Belhaj's picture
Also available in: Français

"Syria's neighbors, Lebanon and Jordan in particular, have shown tremendous hospitality and tremendous generosity [in hosting the influx of Syrian refugees]. The international community needs to help them carry that burden, as they should not have to bear it alone." Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Country Director.

A Georgian Idol for the Middle East and North Africa

Rania Atieh's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
        World Bank

Peer learning has great potential as an effective tool for sharing knowledge and good practice. For it to work, the right environment is needed; one that is conducive to learning and knowledge-sharing. In a recent case in Georgia, however, it all came down to the right crowd, a great host and relevant experiences. Good food and nice weather may also have helped some.

Arab World ailments ill-served

Amina Semlali's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

        Photo credit: bandcassociates

From the exhilaration of popular revolution to the tragedy of ongoing conflict, the Middle East and North Africa region has occupied a prominent place in the headlines. Yet there is another, often silent, drama that is not receiving the attention it deserves. It is playing out in both rich and poor countries, albeit in different forms. A series of alarming statistics reveal an ongoing deterioration in the overall health of the people of the region.

A silent data revolution in the Arab World

Paolo Verme's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

        World Bank | Arne Hoel

Something new and important is happening in the Arab world, and it has so far gone largely unnoticed. Since the beginning of the 2011 revolutions, statistical agencies in the North Africa and the Middle East have started to open up access to their raw data and sharing it not only with selected individuals and institutions but also with the public at large. This amounts to a cultural revolution the implications of which are exciting and wide ranging.

Can a game teach us how to better invest in the poor in Jordan?

Guest Blogger's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
        Kim Eun Yeul

“I never thought that a poor family could benefit so much by me giving just a small amount of money,” the old man said with an intrigued yet hopeful expression on his face. We were sitting in a small classroom in Aqaba, Jordan, chosen as part of a behavioral experiment on Social Safety Nets. Although I have worked on social issues for many years, this statement was eye-opening to me.

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