Thousands of Afghans are taking advantage of affordable loans to improve their homes – and their lives
5 OCTOBER 2013 | AFGHANISTAN
It took just $2,000 to transform Bibi Sediqa Musawi’s house. But it changed her life and that of her soldier husband and their three children. Till she heard about home improvement loans, the family lived in a cramped windowless house without a kitchen or a front door. It was all they could afford.
Then, like thousands of other Afghans, Bibi Sediqa borrowed from The First MicroFinanceBank Afghanistan. She bought a door and windows and was able to plaster and paint the inside of the house.
“It’s a great support to the poor,” she says.
For the bank, which turns 10 next year, Bibi Sediqa is yet another success story. Borrowers use the loans to improve or enlarge their houses, install wells or hand pumps for clean water, or toilets for better hygiene. At less than $100 a month, payments are affordable. That’s why Abdul Majid borrowed money to add to his five-room house and make his family of 25 more comfortable.
The Aga Khan Development Network, which promotes economic development in 30 low-income countries, owns a majority share of the bank. It offers its customers more than loans, advising them on building materials, earthquake-resistant structures, construction techniques, and innovative ways to improve energy efficiency, sanitation and ventilation.
The bank offers housing loans in 13 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and has become the country’s most successful commercial micro-lender. With USAID support, it is expanding into the hinterland.
Last updated: January 20, 2015