Yemen to Inaugurate the First Bank of the Poor [Archives:2001/38/Business & Economy]

September 17 2001

Preparations are underway to launch the first bank of its kind in Yemen, to be called Bank of the Poor in mid-October. The establishment of the bank is just another contribution to the social security net with the view of alleviating the growing poverty arising from the economic reform program Yemen has been implementing since 1995.
Banking sources noted that Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz Al-Sua’ad, who has been chosen as the honorary president of the bank, is due to take part in the inauguration ceremony. Banks of the Poor have achieved success in more than 65 countries worldwide, which are supported by the Arab Gulf Fund chaired by Prince Talal. The establishment of the bank aims at offering the poor groups within the society small loans, enabling the poor to raise their standard of living. This will create new job opportunities as well as contribute to economic growth and poverty alleviation.
Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz Chairman of the Arab Gulf Fund, in October, 2000, signed a memorandum of understanding with the former Yemeni minister of Insurance and Social Affairs Mohammed Abdulah al-s, for the establishment of a Bank of the Poor in Yemen with the capital of USD 5.5 million. The Arab Gulf Program will offer technical assistance and consultation as well as USD 1 million to the capital of the bank. The memorandum of understanding stipulated that the government of Yemen shall ensure the continuity and independence of the bank as well as offer the necessary facilities. Furthermore, they will contribute USD 2.5 million, while the private sector will provide USD 1 million.
A committee from the three parties has been set up for preparing the working plan of the bank as an independent entity taking into account the peculiarities of Yemen. This kind of bank has social objectives and aims at encouraging the poor to save money and allowing them to be shareholders at the bank. The Arab Gulf Fund for supporting UN agencies contributed to supporting and financing 693 projects in 126 developing countries, including 79 projects in Yemen. These projects have been implemented in cooperation with different UN agencies, the Yemeni government, community organizations and the private sector. It is worth mentioning that Yemen is one of the Arab states that welcomed the call of Prince Talal to establish Banks of the Poor, in addition to Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.