U.S. assistance has expanded the supply of loans to micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises that do not normally have access to commercial-based capital. In fact, the microfinance sector in Lebanon started in the late-90 and USAID’s support was crucial in establishing Al Majmoua, Ameen, and ADR, the three MFIs that were operational back then. The former two MFIs are currently the two largest MFIs and the dominant players in the sector. Today, USAID supports eight key microfinance organizations in Lebanon by lending capital and providing technical management and planning support: Association du Développement Rural (ADR), Association d’Entr’aide Professionnelle du Liban (AEP), AlMajmoua, Ameen, The Lebanese Cooperative for Development (CLD), Emkan, Entrepreneurial Development Fund (DEF), and the Makhzoumi Foundation. The organizations make it easier for agribusiness, tourism and technology companies, as well as women and young entrepreneurs, to access reliable and competitive credit. The loans allow for the development of income-generating businesses and the enhancement of existing ones, thus increasing sales, job creation and economic growth.
Our impacts in this sector include:
- At present, under USAID’s current microfinance program, more than 6,000 loans were disbursed using USAID grants over three years across all regions of Lebanon, with a focus on areas outside of metropolitan Beirut; almost half of all borrowers were youth aged 18 to 35. Overall, nearly 9,000 jobs were created or sustained as a result of USAID assistance with approximately 40 percent of these jobs filled by women.