Building and emboldening a financial infrastructure that empowers women and SMEs
OPIC has long seen investing in infrastructure that supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as a highly effective strategy for creating lasting, stable development in emerging economies. SMEs, women-owned SMEs in particular, face many challenges accessing the capital they need to grow their businesses. In the Middle East, only 14 percent of SMEs are owned by women, the second lowest rate the world.
Recognizing the opportunity for growth in this sector in a country like Jordan, OPIC partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Maryland-based Global Communities, an international development and humanitarian assistance non-profit, to create the Jordan Loan Guaranty Facility (JLGF). The $250 million institution encourages banks to enter loan relationships with Jordanian SMEs who would have otherwise been unable to obtain financing. As of early 2017, the JLGF has guaranteed hundreds of loans, including more than 70 women-owned businesses, which total $127 million in guarantees disbursed.
Haneen Amaren decided in 2012 to start her own optics center in the Jordanian city of Al-Karak. At first lacking the funds to purchase her inventory, Amaren received a loan guaranteed by JLGF that allowed her to buy a wider inventory at a lower cost. Amaren’s business grew to become a reputed optics center in several areas of Jordan, and she took out another JLGF guaranteed loan in 2016 to fund her expansion.
Learn more about OPIC’s work supporting SMEs at home and abroad: