Lebanon ranks 49th globally for microfinance environment.
BEIRUT: The Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Microfinance Index ranked Lebanon in 49th place among 54 countries worldwide and in last place among 14 countries in the Middle East and Africa (MENA) in terms of the environment for microfinance, as reported by Lebanon This Week, the economic publication of the Byblos Bank Group. Also, Lebanon came 12th among 14 Upper Middle Income Countries (UMICs) included in the survey.
According to a World Bank study released at the end of 2009, Lebanon's net micro-loan portfolio stands at roughly $50 million, with the estimated number of active clients ranging between 38,000 and 55,700. The World Bank highlights a stark disparity between those figures and the number of eligible borrowers which stands at 190,000, a $200 million market, by the bank's calculations.
The index evaluates microfinance as a commercially viable and sustainable activity and compares countries across three broad categories that are the regulatory framework, the investment climate and institutional development for microfinance activity. It assigned a 40 percent weight to each of the regulatory framework and institutional development categories, and a 20 percent weight to the investment climate category.
Globally, Lebanon ranked ahead of Thailand and Jamaica, and came behind Turkey and Democratic Republic of Congo. Also, Lebanon ranked ahead of Jamaica and Venezuela, and behind Turkey and Uruguay among UMICs. Lebanon received a score of 26.3 points, below the global average of 43.95 points and below the MENA and UMICs' averages of 41.79 points and 41 points, respectively. Lebanon, Morocco, and Yemen were the only three Arab countries included in the survey. Peru ranked first globally and Venezuela came in last place.
Lebanon ranked in 42nd place globally and in last place among MENA countries in terms of the regulatory framework for microfinance. Globally, it ranked ahead of Argentina and Uruguay and behind Azerbaijan and Senegal. Also, Lebanon ranked in 36th place globally and in 8th place among MENA countries on the investment climate category. Globally, it ranked ahead of Indonesia and Paraguay, and behind Tajikistan and Nicaragua. Further, Lebanon ranked in last place globally on the institutional development category. Globally, it tied with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jamaica, Morocco, Turkey and Vietnam. -- The Daily Star
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