Blog

Mapping Fintech Innovations in the Arab World

Where is fintech innovation happening in the Arab world? What types of solutions are emerging? CGAP shares preliminary results from our research on fintech in a region with roughly 140 million financially excluded adults.
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To the Future and Back: Financial Inclusion in the Arab World

A new Arab Monetary Fund-CGAP report points to a huge unmet demand for financial services in the Arab world, where 70 percent of adults lack access to an account.
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Better Understanding the Demand for Islamic Microfinance

CGAP, Yale University and Tamweelcom have taken a novel approach to the study of demand for Islamic and conventional loans in Jordan. This randomized experiment reveals new insights into the real demand for Islamic microloans, and the findings are striking.
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Gender & Geography: Women-Owned SMEs in the Middle East

Women entrepreneurs in the Middle East face greater challenges than men in trying to access financial services. Providing women-owned SMEs with specific types of support will work to promote inclusive economic growth in the region.
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Using Randomized Trials for Product Design

People are unpredictable and don't always act in rational ways. Randomized experiments can help businesses and organizations learn more about their own work, improve upon their offerings, and better understand consumer behaviors.
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Towards a More Enabling Legal Framework for Microfinance in Iraq

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.
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20 Years of Financial Inclusion in the Arab World

According to the Findex, the Arab World has the highest percentage of financially excluded adults. What are the regional obstacles? How has the field changed in the past 2 decades?
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What Excludes Women from Formal Finance in the Arab States?

Women are less than half as likely as men to have an account in the Arab world. Why such a dismal record?
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Financial Inclusion Opportunities and Challenges in Tunisia

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.
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How Speed Dating Led to Progress on Digital Finance in Tunisia

Despite having all the necessary ingredients for digital financial services to take off, less than four percent of Tunisians use mobile financial services. What does it take to move a market beyond stalemate?
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Pathways to Self-Reliance for Urban Refugees in Egypt

UNHCR and its Graduation partners Trickle Up and BRAC University decided to test the Graduation Approach with the aim of helping urban refugees in Egypt progress from vulnerability to self-sustainability.
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The Importance of Being a Reliable Partner in a Time of Crisis

With a series of crises unfolding throughout much of the Arab world today, the donor community has been challenged to find appropriate ways to address the widespread loss and increasing vulnerability in the region.
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Beyond Numbers: How One Gaza MFI Emerged from the Rubble

With unemployment rates in Gaza reaching the double digits and the UN estimating that more than three-quarters of the population depends on aid to survive, it’s little wonder that the services of microfinance institution, FATEN, are in such high demand.
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Applying the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards in Lebanon

The Minimum Economic Recovery Standards (MERS) handbook provides a framework to analyze the basic requirements for financial service providers working in crisis environments such as Lebanon.
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The Arab World in Crisis: How Should Donors & Investors Respond?

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.
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Investing in MENA’s Entrepreneurs: What is Really Needed?

A recent study by Wamda Research Lab highlights challenges preventing startups in the Middle East and North Africa from growing. One of the obstacles is access to appropriate funding.
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10 Things You May Not Know about Postal Networks

Postal networks have undertaken major transformations. They are increasingly leveraging their branch networks to play a role in financial services, and many are emerging as important gateways for financial inclusion of the world's poor.
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What did we Learn from the Moroccan Microcredit Crisis?

The Moroccan microcredit crisis of 2009 reveals several lessons for countries in similar situations.
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Can Islamic Banking Offer Some Lessons to Islamic Microfinance?

The journey of Islamic banking may offer some lessons - including product diversity - to Islamic microfinance.
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Sharia-Compliant Finance for MSMEs in Algeria

Since many youth in Algeria are reluctant to use financial products that charge interest (a violation of Islamic financial principles), the Algerian government set out to to make available a Sharia-compliant product that is both affordable and scalable.