Lebanon’s Ministry of Interior and Municipalities officially has approved the establishment of a microfinance association, whose membership will consist of the following Lebanese microfinance institutions (MFIs): Association for the Development of Rural Capacities, Association d’Entraide Professionnelle, Al Majmoua, Entrepreneurial Development Foundation, Emkan, Ibdaai Lebanon, Makhzoumi Foundation and Vitas. The association is sponsored by the Lebanon Investment in Microfinance Program (LIM), which has been working in the country for five years with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Describing the effort, LIM Chief of Party Mahmoud Elzein said, “Lebanon’s leading microfinance institutions have come together to improve financial services for the most vulnerable Lebanese citizens.”
The association will attempt to boost credit availability in Lebanon by promoting communication and coordination among its member MFIs, providing training for microfinance staff, conducting market research, promoting awareness of microfinance and providing a “unified” voice of MFIs within the country. Since its inception in 2009, LIM has awarded USD 9.5 million in grants to member MFIs, which in turn have disbursed approximately 14,000 loans totaling USD 32 million and supporting 16,286 jobs, of which 2,793 were newly created.
By Mathew Cerf, Research Associate
Investment in Microfinance Program (LIM)
The Lebanon Investment in Microfinance Program was established in April 2009 through a partnership between USAID (United States Agency for International Developmen) and Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA), a US-based NGO. The program is implemented through a partnership between the International Executive Service Corps (IESC), a US-based NGO that seeks to compliment efforts of USAID and the Peace Corps, a volunteer program of the US government, and VEGA, which was founded by USAID in 2004. LIM aims to help Lebanese micro- and small enterprises, “increase sales, create jobs, and advance economic growth through improved access to finance.” Since its inception in 2009, has awarded USD 9.5 million in grants to member MFIs, which in turn have disbursed approximately 14,000 loans totaling USD 32 million and supporting 16,286 jobs, of which 2,793 were newly created.
Sources and Additional Resources
 International Executive Service Corps Press Release: “Lebanon Establishes First Microfinance Institution ”
 International Executive Service Corps: “Examples of Our Work ”
 Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance: “Lebanon Investment in Microfinance ”
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