First ‘Bank of the Poor’ in Yemen [Archives:2004/723/Local News]

March 25 2004

An agreement signed in Riyadh on Wednesday has allowed the setting up the Arab world's first “Bank for the Poor” in Yemen.
Saudi Prince Talal bin Abd al-Aziz, the head the Arab Gulf Programme for UN Development Organisations (AGFUND) and Yemeni Labour and Social Affairs Minister, Abdulkarim al-Arhabi, have signed this historic accord.
The AGFUND has been committed to fund the first bank of its kind along with potential contributions from Arab countries.
This comes after Yemen had signed Yemen an agreement in October 2000 with Riyadh-based AGFUND to set up the bank with capital of $5.5mn.
According to the AFP, AGFUND said at the time it would provide up to $2mn capital to the bank, with the Yemeni government putting up $2.5mn and a further $1mn coming from the private sector.
“This banking system will allow the poor increasingly to become partners of the bank and shareholders,” Prince Talal said, adding that Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan had agreed to set up similar banks.
Founded in 1981 at Prince Talal's initiative, AGFUND provides grants for UN projects and coordinates aid from the oil-rich Gulf Arab states.