EBRD supports women entrepreneurs in Jordan

By Nibal Zgheib

The EBRD is providing a senior loan of US$ 4 million to Microfund for Women (MFW) to support the development of larger, expanding microfinance enterprises in Jordan, with a focus on women entrepreneurs.

This investment will allow MFW to extend the remit of its lending to include loans for growing microfinance clients until these clients are eligible for full access to the commercial banking system. The EBRD loan will also be partly used to finance the existing microfinance clients of MFW.

In addition to promoting access to finance, the EBRD loan will enable MFW to play an important role in supporting women entrepreneurs in Jordan. A significant portion of the larger enterprises that will receive this finance through MFW are owned and run by women.

The facility will be supported by a technical cooperation (TC) project with MFW which will help the organisation to develop its lending to larger clients. The TC will be funded from the EBRD’s southern and eastern Mediterranean Multi-Donor Account (supported by Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK).

Heike Harmgart, Head of the EBRD office in Jordan, said: “By engaging in this transaction, the EBRD will initiate a strategic partnership with a leading microfinance institution (MFI) to help close the funding gap for micro enterprises in Jordan. It will also provide strong support for women entrepreneurs.”

Muna Sukhtian, Managing Director of MFW said: “MFW looks forward to working EBRD for the first time and through this IFI also with leading consultants financed by technical cooperation funds, to develop our capacity for increased lending to larger clients.”

MFW is a privately-owned, non-profit MFI registered in Jordan. It is the largest in the country as measured by the number of clients (30 per cent of market share) and the second largest by gross loan portfolio (13 per cent of market share), with total assets of US$ 47.3 million. MFW reached 100,000 clients in 2013.