Sunday, February 27, 2011

Al Amal Microfinance Bank Of Yemen Named Winner Of The Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2010

Al Amal Microfinance Bank Of Yemen Named Winner Of The Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2010

Press Release

Dubai , UAE - February 27, 2011- Al Amal Microfinance Bank of Yemen has been awarded US$104,000 under the Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2010, a partnership launched to encourage the reach of Islamic financial services to micro-entrepreneurs.

CGAP, Deutsche Bank, Grameen-Jameel Pan Arab Microfinance, and Islamic Development Bank partnered to sponsor this global competition in order to uncover viable business models that provide microfinance products compatible with Islamic law, or Shariah. Sponsors received over 130 applications from 43 countries for this competition, thus underlining the growing global prominence of Islamic financing options. Applicants included Islamic and conventional microfinance institutions (MFIs), multi-sector non-governmental organizations (NGOs), consultants, and academics.

A significant portion of the 2.7 billion people without access to finance often refuse financial products that do not conform to Islamic law, and are therefore at an even greater disadvantage than other low-income individuals seeking financing to fund their micro-businesses.

“The response to the Islamic Microfinance Challenge has been astonishing,” said Julia Assaad, General Manager of Grameen-Jameel Pan Arab Microfinance. “There is great demand for Islamic financing and a lot of enthusiasm among financial groups globally in meeting this demand. We are heartened by both the commitment and innovation we saw from applicants. We hope to see Islamic microfinance flourish in reaching low-income households”.

Al Amal Microfinance Bank is the first microfinance bank in the Arab world to offer only Shariah-compliant products. Operating for just over two years, the bank has 15,000 active borrowers and 20,000 savers, and has already captured over 25 percent of the Yemeni microfinance market. The bank’s menu of Islamic microfinance services include group and individual financing, project, corporate, and investment financing, savings, investment funds, and insurance.

Al Amal’s proposal for the competition was to pilot an Islamic leasing product. The bank plans to self-fund its leasing product by relying on its Islamic investment funds product. It expects to reach operational and financial sustainability by 2012. Al Amal will be recognized and awarded its US$104,000 prize funds during the annual Sanabel Conference in June.

“In its short life, Al Amal Microfinance Bank has already distinguished itself as a pioneering institution of Islamic microfinance,” said Henry Azzam, Deutsche Bank’s Chairman for the Middle East and North Africa. “Al Amal has found creative solutions to self-finance its banking activities and has demonstrated that micro-entrepreneurs can be reached with diverse Islamic finance tools on a large scale.”

The judges also named four runners-up, Tameer Microfinance Bank (Pakistan), Tanzania ecoVolunteerism (Tanzania), Bina Insan Sejahtera Mandiri-BISMA (Indonesia), and Center for Women’s Cooperative Development-CWCD (Pakistan). “Congratulations to these runners-up for submitting business ideas which strongly meet the combined criteria of sustainability, scalability, and innovation,” says Rabih Mattar, Microfinance Team Leader at the Islamic Development Bank. “These applicants have developed interesting ideas to cater to their local markets while remaining committed to Shariah principles. We look forward to hearing about their future pursuits.”

Sponsors of the Islamic Microfinance Challenge hope this competition serves as an impetus for deeper exploration of ways to serve the market. “Ultimately,” says Mohammed Khaled, the Middle East and North Africa representative at CGAP, “the conclusion of the Challenge marks not the end, but the beginning of a collaborative process to build this sector—as we develop business models, it is also critical that we develop training tools, performance ratios, and reporting standards for common use. Practitioners need to have an honest exchange of ideas on what works and what does not, while donors must encourage innovation by investing in new pilot projects.”

Joint Meeting Parties Call their Supporters to Rally against President Saleh's Regime

Joint Meeting Parties Call their Supporters to Rally against President Saleh's Regime

By Fatik Al-Rodaini

Sana'a- Feb 27, 2011- The Yemeni opposition coalition, the Joint Meeting Parties, JMP, announced that it will hold rallies across Yemen's provinces next Tuesday.

The leaders of the opposition called their followers to protest in support of anti-government protesters throughout the country.

Opposition's move inflamed by the violent crackdown on protesters in Aden last Friday in which protesters demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime.

According to analysts Tuesday's rallies it will be the first time that the opposition has called on its supporters to take to the streets since February 3.

Thousands of people continued to protest outside Sana'a University campus on Sunday, insisting on Saleh's resignation. Protesters said that their sit-in will remain until President Saleh leaves.

Saudi Border Guards Kill Yemeni

Saudi Border Guards Kill Yemeni

SANA'A- Feb 27, 2011- A Yemeni citizen has been shot dead by Saudi border guards, the Interior Ministry reported on Sunday.

The ministry said that Saudi border guards have shot the Yemeni citizen Ali Taib, 21, who dead immediately, while he was trying to sneak to the Saudi territories.

The security authorities in the border area Haradh said that they have delivered the body to his family.

The procedures are currently underway to avail the issue's circumstances, the ministry said.

President Saleh Meets GPC's Parliamentary Bloc Members

President Saleh Meets GPC's Parliamentary Bloc Members

SANA'A- Feb 27, 2011- President Ali Abdullah Saleh met here on Sunday with members of the General People's Congress (GPC)'s parliamentary bloc.

At the meeting, President Saleh welcomed the parliamentarians and briefed them on the underway developments at the national arena.

He hoped coming up with useful results whether in legislation and oversight area, or towards what is going on from the repercussions by the JMPs, the calls of separatists in south and Houthis in the north, as well as al-Qaeda and the biggest worry for the homeland which is the economic worry.

Saleh noted to the events witnessed by some Arab countries, pointing that some in Yemen seek to mimic what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, as well as what is happening in Libya, which is the worst.

"Regrettably, whenever we have some concessions and reforms in response to the opposition desire, whether legal or illegal , the roof of demands rises and this action is non-democratic ", Saleh said.

He added: "They have to respect the majority opinion and we respect the opinion of the minority".

The State president and the parliament's speaker would go, and other leadership would come, but by democracy and peaceful exchange of power rather than through the mob and chaos, Saleh indicated.

He pointed to the damages resulted from the vandlaism and chaos acts in some districts of Aden province, urging the legislators to carry out their role in the legislative and oversight aspects instead of hearing the propaganda by some persons with dual attitudes.

President Saleh pointed that there is a media storm in the world and there is an operations room to manage the media.

"I am not with the survival of any leader or ruler forever", Saleh affirmed.

"There is a malicious media attack and will continue, but it should not scare us", he said noting that some foreign media that adopt the campaign do not cover the facts and events impartially in Yemen.

He stressed the importance of peaceful exchange of power through the ballot box, which keep the homeland away from strife and chaos and safeguard the stability and public order and all great gains of the homeland.

He praised the successes achieved by the Yemeni parliament and the developments witnessed by its legislative and oversight performance over the past two decades within the democratic experience in Yemen.

In the meeting, the attendants discussed on a number of issues and developments at the national arena as well as the challenges faced by the country and the national dialogue.

Source: (Saba)

Yemeni Authorities Arrested Somali Pirates

Yemeni Authorities Arrested Somali Pirates

By Fatik Al-Rodaini

Sana'a- Feb 27, 2011- Yemen's Interior Ministry said that security authorities arrested two Somali pirates off the Yemeni coasts.

The ministry mentioned that the Somali pirates Mohammed Mahmoud Saeed, 23, and Adam Ali Abdullah, 23, were arrested near Socotra Island.

The security forces have pursued the pirates before arresting them in cooperation with local fishermen, the ministry said, adding that their boat has been seized as well.