Islamic Finance Meets Microfinance in Syria, Possible Solution to Food Security Issues (08)
"In 2007, Syria became the first country in the Arab region to issue legislation in the area of microfinance. However, microfinance is growing at a slow pace as private and commercial banks are oriented towards high- income clients and reluctant to enter microfinance arena because of the 9% interest rate cap. A few NGOs and donor agencies working towards poverty alleviation support microfinance initiatives in the country. If this trend continues in the future, microfinance will take several years to meet the needs of Syrian society.
Sources:SFG ME January 2011 pgs. 11-13
Arab Women Entrepreneurs: A Growing Phenomenon
“Women-managed businesses are witnessing growing acceptance in Arab societies. Religiously, Arab women have a powerful role model in Prophet Mohammad‟s first wife Khadija, who was a successful trader and businesswoman. A study by the Syria Trust for Development in 2010 revealed that forty percent of men and eighty percent of women held positive attitudes towards entrepreneurship as a career option for women. Around 65 percent of female owned firms were actively managed by the female owner in Syria. Female entrepreneurship is also gathering support at the ministerial level in governments.
Sources:SFG-ME April 2011 pgs. 4-6
Return to Roots: Revival of Qanats in Iraq, Iran and Syria
“In recent years, Qanats, ancient hydraulic irrigation and potable water disbursement systems, are being revived to mitigate water shortages. Although Iraq has seen significant technological development in water treatment and disbursement, these projects are difficult to manage in remote or rural areas for various technical and energy related problems.
Sources:SFG-ME July 2011 pgs. 8-10
SMS Electronic Food Vouchers for Iraqi Refugees in Syria
Innovative mobile phone applications are helping the vulnerable and poor communities in the region.
Sources:The Strategic Foresight Group, Middle-East Edition, May 2011, page 2-3: http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/SFG-ME_May2011.pdf#page=2
Health Care Reform in Syria
In 2010, the Syrian government introduced several initiatives to improve the quality and access to public health services. The reforms aim to address the health needs of currently underserved populations.
In Syria, the absence of "charitable health care providers and exorbitant fees charged by private hospitals" push the poor to public hospitals—a significant population, considering that "about 20 percent... of the 22 million population... lives below the poverty line"
Sources:SFG June 2011, pages 8, 9: