The Arab Gulf Program for United Nations (UN) Development Organizations (AGFUND) has reached agreement with Yemen to establish the first Arab bank providing loans for the poor.
Yemen will be the first Arab country where a bank will be opened to offer small loans to the poor to help them start businesses for which they could not secure funds due to obstacles imposed by regular commercial banks, stated a press release. Loans will be provided with symbolic interest.
With a gross national product per capita of $460, Yemen’s 18.5 million people remain among the poorest in the world. About 42 percent of households live below the poverty line, and approximately 25 percent are unemployed or underemployed. One of the challenges facing Yemen is to reduce its dependence on rapidly depleting oil reserves and turn to promising non-oil sectors and attract private investment.
Founded in 1981, AGFUND has helped finance 693 projects in 126 developing countries, 79 of them in Yemen. It provides grants for UN projects and coordinates aid from the oil-rich Gulf Arab states. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )