For over 6 million smallholder farmers in Pakistan, financing options are extremely limited. The Wasil Foundation, winner of the 2013 Islamic Microfinance Challenge, offers an alternative to traditional financing that enables farmers to build assets and sustainable livelihoods.
Four Iraqi MFIs, representing 15% of the market closed their doors in recent years due to conflict in the country. This left 20,000 clients with few other options, as Iraq's financial system remains underdeveloped.
Financial inclusion is becoming a priority in Tunisia, and the Ministry of Finance aims at modernizing the entire financial sector by 2020. There are many opportunities, but progress will require public and private entities to work together.
Donors and investors focusing on financial inclusion in the Arab World are determining how to adapt their approaches given the level of crisis in the region. It's a complicated issue, but many organizations have provided resources to aid decisionmaking.
This post kicks off a special series on regional reflections for 2012. The end of 2011 was undeniably a momentous time across the Arab World with uprisings first emerging in Tunisia and Egypt and then spreading to Libya, Yemen, and Syria. Expectations of 2012 were high as old regimes were discarded and new governments brought with them hopes of more equitable societies and opportunities for all, including in particular the region’s large numbers of young people. New governments have been scrambling to enact reforms that will appease the hopes of the now vocal and restless street, while trying to create democracies in a region with limited experience in democratic processes.