The Microfinance Network of Arab Countries (Sanabel)
Sanabel was established in 2002 as a membership-driven regional network when 17 representatives from seven Arab countries gathered in Tunisia to launch a network designed to serve microfinance institutions in the Arab world. At this meeting the group adopted by-laws and membership criteria, articulated a vision, mission and objectives and elected an executive committee. At its General Assembly meeting in December 2003, Sanabel members voted to formalize the organization by registering Sanabel as a not-for-profit organization and opening a regional office. In 2004, the organization was incorporated and registered as a non-profit organization in both Atlanta, Georgia, USA and in Cairo, Egypt where the headquarters is located. Currently Sanabel has 78 members from 12 Arab Countries. It is estimated that Sanabel members are serving 2.4 million clients representing 83% of the total microfinance clients in the region.
Sanabel envisions all low income people in Arab countries with access to comprehensive financial services.
Sanabel advocates for growth, innovation, best practices & standardization of the microfinance sector in Arab countries.
- Strengthen the capacity of MFIs through needs-based training, technical assistance and peer exchanges.
- Advocate for a positive and conducive microfinance environment and for the inclusion of microfinance in the financial sector.
- Promote microfinance best practices among stakeholders in Arab countries through transparency, standardization, peer learning and information exchange efforts.
- Foster innovation in the microfinance sector by researching and highlighting leading trends in technological developments, product diversification and new financial services.
Training & capacity Building
The objectives of Sanabel’s training program include bringing new courses to the region, building a cadre of certified trainers who can serve the industry and to offer industry stakeholders and members relevant and high quality training courses.
Social Performance Management
A recent area of focus includes Social Performance Management. Like most MFIs, Sanabel’s members have social missions that seek to serve the poorest and improve their quality of life. Sanabel would like to support its membership to define measure and improve progress in achieving social missions and objectives. Currently, most Arab MFIs have experience in measuring their financial performance using financial ratios and tools but few have attempted to monitor their achievements against social goals.
Networking & Information Sharing
Sanabel’s annual conference is the largest microfinance event in the region and is an opportunity for practitioners, policy makers, experts, donors, investors and other interested in microfinance to come together to share the latest develops of the industry and to exchange ideas on how to further develop the industry in the region. Moreover, Sanabel manages content of the Arabic Microfinance Gateway which is the most comprehensive online resource of microfinance services and information in the Arabic language.
Transparency & Research
Sanabel is working with MFIs in the Arab world to promote information sharing and the adoption of global industry reporting norms. Sanabel also provides MFIs with the support to integrate this information into the governance and management of their operations. Sanabel is especially proud of the growing number of its members who are included in global rankings of top MFIs.
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