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European bank announces $4m loan to support female-led enterprises

By JT - Dec 14,2018 - Last updated at Dec 14,2018

AMMAN — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced on Thursday a $4 million loan to promote female entrepreneurship in Jordan. 

The third such loan, according to a statement from the EBRD, will be provided to Microfund for Women (MFW), a private nonprofit under the unbrella of the Central Bank of Jordan. 

According to the statement, the funds will increase access to finance for women-led businesses, specifically for those from disadvantaged communities. The EBRD said they hoped this would lead to greater financial inclusion and job opportunities. 

Access to finance through banks remains extremely limited for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Jordan, which account for 95 per cent of the country’s companies and are an important source for jobs, the statement added.

MFW became a client of the EBRD in 2013, and since then, two loan agreements have been signed totalling $6 million. The agreements include a loan signed in 2017 to benefit Syrian refugee women as well as Jordanian women.

MFW is the largest microfinance institution in the country in terms of loans and clients alike, with total assets of $89.6 million and 61 branches in the first half of 2018, the website added. 

MFW currently serves nearly 147,000 beneficiaries, of whom around 5,600 are active women borrowers from the Syrian refugee community, according to the statement.

Jordan became an EBRD shareholder in 2012, and to date the bank has committed more than 1 billion euros across 40 projects, the statement added.

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