There is great potential for more adequate financial services for people and businesses in the Arab region to save, invest, make payments, or to protect themselves against risks. The people of the region will benefit through employment and social well-being.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has the lowest level of financial inclusion worldwide. On average, only 14% of adults have a bank account. Unemployment, particularly among the youth, remains a core challenge with an unemployment rate of 28.2% according to the International Labour Organisation.

Policy-makers in the Arab World have realized inclusive and stable financial sectors as a key component to boost sustainable and inclusive growth. To improve people’s financial and occupational perspectives, more and more countries set up financial inclusion strategies, promoting technological innovation, non-bank financial services, and customer empowerment.

On a regional level, the GIZ MFMR programme promotes cross-border dialogue, knowledge exchange and access to sector specific data and information.

To keep up the regional momentum in policy making for more financial inclusion in the Arab countries, the programme together with the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) and other partners such as the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) supports the development of capacities of partner governments.

The programme furthermore supports the Microfinance Network of Arab Countries, Sanabel, through organisational and strategic advice. A new business strategy as well as strengthened internal structures, governance, and HR policies aim at developing Sanabel’s training courses for MFIs.