Groundbreaking Microfinance Initiatives to Empower Farmers

Dr. Khaled Al-Ghazzawi, CEO of Ebdaa Microfinance Company, emphasized the vital need for collaboration among banking and financial institutions across the Arab region, particularly those specializing in microfinance. This collaboration aims to facilitate access to soft loans for farmers, thereby enhancing job opportunities in agriculture, tackling climate challenges, and elevating food security levels regionally.

 These points were highlighted during Dr. Al-Ghazzawi speech at the “Arab Economic Security Forum in Light of Geopolitical Changes,” hosted by the Union of Arab Banks in Beirut, Lebanon, under the patronage of the esteemed Prime Minister of Lebanon Mr. Najib Mikati.

 Dr. Al-Ghazzawi explained that the banks affiliated with the “AGFUND” program, including Ebdaa company have embraced an integrated methodology. The key focus of this approach is to financially include farmers, empower them economically and socially, and support them in making informed decisions regarding their agricultural ventures while mitigating financial risks.

 “This mechanism offers a broad spectrum of opportunities for establishing and developing small projects. Moreover, it serves to safeguard small farmers, motivating them to diversify products and play a role in famine eradication, thereby contributing to the achievement of the second goal outlined in the sustainable development agenda.”  Dr. Al-Ghazzawi said.

The CEO of Ebdaa Microfinance Company highlighted the findings of studies indicating a significant potential increase in agricultural production in developing countries if women are provided equal opportunities and services as men. Consequently, AGFUND banks have specifically targeted women, resulting in a notable rise in their economic contribution. Currently, 60% of AGFUND’s financing beneficiaries are women. Notably, Ebdaa initiative has facilitated approximately BD 10 million in soft financing for around 9,800 Bahraini women, enabling them to establish microenterprises across various sectors, including food and agriculture.

Dr. Al-Ghazzawi emphasized the imperative of viewing food and economic security as an interconnected entity, addressing geopolitical challenges from this perspective. Small-scale farmers should be integral to the solutions, considering their challenges as deeply intertwined with Arab economic security. Achieving comprehensive Arab economic security necessitates placing this issue at the forefront of governmental priorities, fostering the development of appropriate policies for sustainable economic growth. Additionally, banks play a crucial role in providing essential facilities and financing to support these objectives, especially in light of ongoing global transformations.

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