USAID LENS at the outset of the project conducted a comprehensive financial sector analysis of Jordan, reviewing demand side drivers, financial service providers and available support programs for both micro and small enterprises as well as financial institutions. Microfinance Institutions provide financial services to underserved and vulnerable populations, thus engaging in USAID LENS’ target areas of intervention and are poised to move to towards their next stage of maturation to further expand depth and breadth of outreach.
However, in order to successfully meet the unmet needs of these previously neglected populations, microfinance institutions in Jordan require support and technical assistance to further build capacity and deploy new and innovative means of product and service delivery.
USAID LENS Work
USAID LENS is currently working with three microfinance institutions (MFIs)—the National Microfinance Bank, Microfund for Women and Tamweelcom—on a variety of activities. These include developing an SME department for National Microfinance Bank to serve “the missing middle”, a risk management unit and a learning academy for Microfund for Women so that clients receive not only financing, but technical assistance to further build their capacity and piloting of mobile applications for loan payments and processing so as to allow the MFIs to reach previously non-viable locations. USAID LENS is also supporting Tamweelcom in the deployment of a mobile branch that will travel between Ma’an, Karak and Tafileh, the deployment of service kiosks to further expand outreach in Jordan, as well as a targeted program designed specifically for young entrepreneurs.
It is anticipated that in 2016 at least three new agreements, one related to green energy, one the development of sharia compliant lending products and an e-banking solution will also benefit from USAID LENS’ support.
In addition USAID LENS in collaboration with the EU is providing support for the Microfinance Network – Tanmeyah. Support for the network includes business and strategic planning, with a focus on sustainability, as well as the development of a microfinance sector database for sector analysis, avoidance of over-indebtedness and as a marketing and risk management tool. USAID LENS also works in collaboration with Tanmeyah on other sector studies designed to provide benefit to its membership.
The support provided by USAID LENS currently in process and anticipated for 2016 totals $2.275 million in financial support to MFIs as well as on the ground support provided by the USAID LENS Access to Finance team.
The Jordan Microfinance Network- Tanmeyah, in cooperation with the USAID Jordan Local Enterprise Support Project (LENS), is organising a series of finance fairs in target governorates. The finance fairs aim to improve access to finance for micro and small enterprises by increasing awareness of how microfinance can help entrepreneurs to start and grow a business and connecting Jordanian microfinance institutions directly to these entrepreneurs and business owners.