Thursday, October 4, 2012

Passport Series: Changing Jordan's political and economic landscape with microfinance

At the epicenter of political tension in the Middle East, Jordan faces many limitations due to its lack of natural resources and exclusion of foreign investment. Over 80% of Jordan's economy is comprised of small businesses that struggle to receive loans from the banking sector regardless of size.

As a result, microfinance has become a key to financial independence. This past summer, Jordan hosted the first annual Microfinance Network Conference.

Queen Noor, a major propent of microfinance, noted that, "The ultimate goal of making microfinance better is to make lives better. Especially the lives of women and their children. Economically empowered women are more able to participate fully in the social, economic and political life of the community."

Demonstrated by the Arab Spring protests last year, the region's youth population is frustrated by the lack of accessible capital to start their own businesses. Many have not established credit histories and do not have valuable work experience.

To tackle these challenges, Kiva has partnered with Middle Eastern powerhouse Silatech to provide economic development and opportunities for Arab youth. Through this partnership, young people in the region will be able to access loans and control their own financial futures.

Two years ago, Kiva borrower Raeda started her home-business of flower arranging. She is a 28-year-old housewife with a husband in the military and two children. When her husband is not on duty, he helps her to deliver high-quality service to her customers. Through some research, she found that importing materials from outside Jordan is much cheaper. She received $1,275 in financing from Kiva lenders and was able to repay the loan as her business blossomed!

Raeda's husband at their plant and flower shop.

Alaa is a student at Al Yarmouk University majoring in airport management. Because of the microloans she received from National Microfinance Bank, she was able to afford her tuition and has even repaid her loan in full. What a difference a small amount of capital can make!

Through the implementation and support of eight microfinance institutions, small loans have been able to improve the development, prosperity, and stability of Jordan. Kiva is proud to work with its Field Partners in Jordan to help change the economic, political, and social landscape of the country.

This is the final post of a three-part series taking a deep-dive look at Jordan, its history with microfinance, Kiva's role in expanding opportunities for the Jordanese population, and what it's like to participate in the country's economy as a borrower, lender and field worker. 

Questions? Comments? Email us at