Call to create small loan facilities to generate jobs for youngsters

Updated 15 January 2014

Call to create small loan facilities to generate jobs for youngsters

The Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND) called on Arab countries to set up more micro-financing institutions to help unemployed youth and poor people make a sustainable living.
Nasser Al-Qahtani, AGFUND executive director, said microfinance banks would create income and jobs for the vast majority of Arab communities. He was speaking at a meeting of the "Arab Aid" group in Riyadh on Tuesday.
“AGFUND creates jobs and helps deserving poor people. At the same time we maintain a sustainable business that covers our expenses in the long term,” he told Arab News.
The meeting was held in the presence of Inger Andersen, World Bank vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, and the heads of various Arab and international organizations.
Addressing the event on behalf of Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz, AGFUND’s president, Al-Qahtani, said that the AGFUND program has established eight of these banks in various Arab countries including Jordan, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan and Palestine.
In 2014, AGFUND plans to establish another three banks in the Philippines, Tunisia and Mauritania.
He said AGFUND has strategic relations with various organizations to set up these banks. It has provided a $224 million loan and invested $13 million in the venture.
Outlining other AGFUND programs, he said: “We have created promising partnerships and new development alliances to train 100 young men and women in entrepreneurship, capacity building and poverty eradication."
He said youth unemployment is now one of the major problems facing the Arab region.
“As such, microfinance should be utilized as a tool to reach out to the youth, providing products that help create self-employment opportunities.”
He said this is not a complete solution to youth unemployment but could provide a novel tool to curb the social consequence of having many young people without jobs. He said the venture already has over 1 million poor beneficiaries.
“There are good stories of women and orphans using these loans to create jobs for themselves and others," he said.
Al-Qahtani said the industry has grown to cover a range of personal services including insurance, savings and banking in education, health, agriculture, energy and housing.
It targets a double bottom line, measuring both social impact and financial performance, thus qualifying it as a powerful instrument for socially responsible investment, he said.
The Riyadh meetings will tackle the recommendations from the third Arab African Summit, which was held in Kuwait recently. This will be the main agenda of the upcoming meeting of the heads of the various groupings in Kuwait on Jan. 19.
Arab Aid and their counterparts from the World Bank, the German Society for International Cooperation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be discussing ways to enhance cooperation.
The Arab Aid group has nine institutions and funds including the Saudi Fund for Development, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development, the Islamic Development Bank, the OPEC Fund for International Development, the Qatar Fund for Development and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa.


Saudi deputy defense chief receives Yemeni president

Updated 26 November 2020

Saudi deputy defense chief receives Yemeni president

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman received Yemen’s President  Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Wednesday.
Prince Khalid said they discussed the situation in Yemen. The minister also reaffirmed the commitment of the leadership of the Kingdom to the stability of Yemen.
In a tweet, early on Thursday, the minister said to the president that the Saudi leadership wanted security and progress for the Yemeni people. He assured the president that implementing of the Riyadh Agreement will move forward to promote peace and stability,  prioritizing the interest of Yemeni people.