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Sheikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan opens 18th Microcredit Summit in Abu Dhabi

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the 18th Microcredit Summit will explore how new and effective financial policies can contribute to the success of the Universal Financial Access 2020 goal, the World Bank 2030 goals, and the U.N. Global Goals.

 

Global policy makers and microfinance experts will convene in Abu Dhabi from March 14th to 17th to explore and discuss innovative financial inclusion strategies that can create clear pathways to economic and social inclusion.

ABU DHABI, UAE - March 14, 2016:  His Highness Sheikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Crown Prince Court in Abu Dhabi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Khalifa University, today inaugurated the 18th Microcredit Summit, which is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

Organised jointly by the Microcredit Summit Campaign, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, and the Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND), the Summit explores how new and effective financial policies can contribute to the success of the Universal Financial Access 2020 goal, the World Bank 2030 goals, and the U.N. Global Goals.

The opening ceremony welcomed VIP guests and central bank managers in the MENA region, as well as leaders and game changers in the field of microfinance around the world, to discuss strategies of financial inclusion for the extreme poor and socially marginalized.

The list of VIP guests and visitors include His Highness Sheikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Crown Prince Court in Abu Dhabi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Khalifa University, H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Queen Sofia of Spain, H.E Eng. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori Minister of Economy in the UAE, Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank Founder Chairman Yunus Centre, Noble Peace Prize Laureate, H.E. Hussain J. Al Nowais, Chairman of Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development; and Larry Reed, director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign in the USA.

In his opening speech, H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said: "For the past two decades, the partnership between AGFUND and Microcredit Summit Campaign has grown stronger over time. Ever since the first Microcredit Summit was held in 1997, both organizations have had a mutual understanding on mechanisms of supporting microfinance as part of the global human development plan, and the current statistics reflect the success of this partnership."

H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz added: "Our broader strategy, values, and policies here at AGFUND focus on equality between all communities and providing marginalized individuals the keys to financial independence. This is why we believe that financial inclusion is a social and economic priority. Consequently, we ask all governments to apply this principle moving forward."

Queen Sofia of Spain commented on the Summit, saying: "We’re delighted to witness the partnership between AGFUND and the Microcredit Summit Campaign… The two organizations relentlessly endeavor to maximize microfinance impact and financial inclusion on broad sectors of beneficiaries, who are in real need for the services of microfinance banks and institutions."

H.E. Eng. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori Minister of Economy in the UAE said: "2015 was the year of innovation, with different governmental entities contributing with more than 100 innovative initiatives. The value of investments on innovative projects is worth $300 billion."

H.E. Hussain J. Al Nowais, Chairman of Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development said: "Khalifa Fund has launched four different microfinance projects, which were planned and developed to achieve three main objectives: maintaining Emirati traditions through small projects, ensuring financial independence, and stability to low income individuals and, most importantly, women’s empowerment… It’s also important to note that 88% of the microfinance projects supported by Khalifa Fund are managed by women."

H.E. Dr. Abdulrahman A. Al-Hamidi, Director General and Chairman of the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), emphasized the growing importance of promoting financial inclusion and of supporting the MSME development as they are one of the key areas for ensuring economic growth and job creation in the Arab region. His Excellency pointed out that, compared to the rest of the world, financial inclusion in the Arab region is very low; according to the World Bank data, 16 to 17 million small businesses in the Arab region have no access to finance or formal financial services. He noted that low financial inclusion is related to high unemployment rates, particularly for youth, which is the highest among the regional groupings and stressed that, according to the AMF, the youth unemployment rate (16-25 years) rose to about 28% in the Arab countries in 2015, compared to 12.4% across the world, and for women in the region, this figure is much higher, reaching 43% against 12.4% worldwide

Larry Reed, director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, said: "We have 1000 delegates from 60 countries, including 250 from the UAE and a delegation of over 100 from Bangladesh at the Summit. I want to thank all of you for making the commitment of your time and resources to be with us. We come together to create a bazaar of ideas and examples, to learn from each other’s and gain confidence by sharing our own."

The Summit includes 7 plenary sessions and 22 breakout sessions that host a number of experts in microfinance and financial inclusion. Sessions cover the "Digital Revolution and Financial Inclusion;" and "Lessons Learned from Government, Social Protection, Programs and the Graduation Approach;" "The Role of Savings Groups in Building Assets and Financial Capability;" and "Doing It Big or Small: Health and Microfinance at Your Level;" and "Innovating agricultural Solutions to Meet Small holder Needs."

The Microcredit Summit Campaign, AGFUND, and the AMF will host a meeting of Central Bank Governors with 17 member country representatives, discussing the process of aligning their regulatory regimes to facilitate microfinance and other financial inclusion tools such as digital transaction platforms, government cash transfers, and other programs serving the socially and financially excluded.

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The Microcredit Summit Campaign, a project of RESULTS Educational Fund, is a global network of institutions and individuals involved in microfinance and is committed to expanding microfinance to the world’s poorest families and helping them lift themselves out of extreme poverty. The Campaign convenes microfinance actors to promote best practices, to stimulate the exchange of knowledge, and to work towards alleviating world poverty through innovations in microfinance. www.microcreditsummit.org

The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development was launched in 2007 to help develop local enterprises in Abu Dhabi, with a total capital investment of AED 2 billion. In addition, the Fund aims to create a new generation of Emirati entrepreneurs by instilling and enriching the culture of investment amongst young people, as well as supporting and developing local small to medium-sized enterprises. Khalifa Fund provides integrated and comprehensive programs to meet the needs and requirements of investors seeking to establish or expand investments. www.khalifafund.ae

The Arab Monetary Fund was created in 1976 as part of the Arab League. The organization facilitates monetary cooperation, trade and financial market development, and sustainable growth in the region. Its 22 member states include Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, and the U.A.E. www.amf.org.ae

AGFUND (Arab Gulf Programme for Development) established in 1980 upon the initiative of HRH Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, is a regional development organization based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. AGFUND’s main objective is to alleviate poverty through Microfinance and financial inclusion. AGFUND’s efforts have till now yielded with the opening of nine Microfinance Banks namely in Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Palestine, Mauritania, in addition to Sierra Leone. Moreover, AGFUND is expected to expand the frontiers of its initiative’s to include Morocco, Tunisia, the Philippines, Comoros and Senegal. Within its goal to alleviate poverty, AGFUND has built a solid partnership with the Microcredit Summit Campaign since the Summit inception and has actively participated and supported its activities worldwide. In addition, AGFUND supports its targeted groups through an effective, collective effort with its Partners, the United Nations Development Organizations, international and regional organizations, governmental and NGO bodies across the least developed countries. http://agfund.org/

For press inquiries or/and press releases please contact:

Layla Haroon: LHaroon[at]bellpottinger.com,+ 971 (0)55 636 0425


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