The State of the Microfinance Sector in Lebanon
BEIRUT – Microfinance is critical for small and micro-enterprises around the globe. Like many other countries, Lebanon has seen a growth in the industry; MFIs (microfinance institutions) are prevalent and consistently conduct outreach to attract new clients. While microfinance is a proven mechanism to increase access to finance in Lebanon, the rapid growth of the industry necessitates coordination and cooperation among its many stakeholders.
On September 9, the Lebanon Investment in Microfinance (LIM) Program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) through the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) organized a roundtable event in collaboration with USAID to discuss the state of the microfinance sector in Lebanon.
Representatives from LIM, USAID, the Central Bank of Lebanon and Lebanese MFIs discussed the challenges microfinance faces in Lebanon. In particular, attendees stressed the need to find solutions that combat cross lending and over-indebtedness – two problems that critically affect the sector’s sustainability.
The participants also discussed the importance of the new Microfinance Association and the role it can play in lobbying the Central Bank of Lebanon. Participants emphasized the new association’s ability to enhance MFI linkages with commercial banks, develop new market studies, and lead marketing campaigns to spread awareness of microfinance’s role in supporting micro and small enterprises throughout the country.
Since 2009, the IESC-implemented LIM Program has facilitated the disbursement of over 12,000 loans collectively valued at nearly $27.5 million. Through capacity building and technical assistance to nine Lebanese MFI partners as well as aiding the creation of the Microfinance Association, LIM is
working alongside its MFI partners to improve the sustainability and success of the Lebanese microfinance industry.
This press release is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of IESC and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.