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LIFE will facilitate growth of the microfinance sector in Lebanon.
On September 30, 2016, Palladium, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a 5 year, $20.3 million contract to support the Livelihoods and Inclusive Finance Expansion (LIFE) Project in Lebanon.
The LIFE project will link vulnerable entrepreneurs at the bottom of the economic pyramid with business training and financial services, improving livelihoods, creating jobs, and reducing poverty while facilitating growth and consolidation of the microfinance sector in Lebanon. LIFE will focus on all regions and rural areas of Lebanon with a special emphasis on “host communities” where large numbers of Syrian refugees are located.
The LIFE project builds on USAID’s previous investments towards growth of the Lebanese microfinance industry, most recently with the Lebanese Investment in Microfinance (LIM) project. Under LIFE, Palladium will provide world-class technical assistance, training, and strategic guidance to microfinance institutions in Lebanon and Lebanon’s Microfinance Association (LMA) so these actors can continue to grow their services to best meet the needs of Lebanon’s most vulnerable entrepreneurs. LIFE will concurrently build the capacity of Lebanon’s smallest and most vulnerable entrepreneurs so that they can grow in business acumen and financial capability, building a new generation of entrepreneurs in Lebanon. LIFE will support local actors as they institute policy changes that will transform the microfinance ecosystem in Lebanon and enable greater inclusivity.
Specifically, LIFE aims to increase capitalization of microfinance institutions (MFIs) who are members of the LMA by at least 25%, expand the coverage of MFIs into formerly underbanked areas, increase the number and value of loans provided by MFIs, provide training to 5,000 microentrepreneurs, and increase the incomes of women, youth and disadvantaged individuals by 20% over project life. LIFE will also institute an innovative grant fund that will remunerate Lebanese-based actors upon successful performance in identifying new entrepreneurs, providing them with business training, and ultimately preparing them to become viable microfinance clients.
Palladium has mobilized a best in class team of local and international partners to support LIFE. LIFE will maintain an office in Beirut, with field agents operating in Lebanon’s North, South, and Bekaa Valley.
Said Santiago Sedaca, Palladium Vice President for Economic Growth, “The LIFE project offers a unique opportunity to address the supply, demand, and enabling environment aspects of Lebanon’s microfinance industry simultaneously. We couldn’t be more pleased to be part of this exciting effort to help more Lebanese entrepreneurs increase their incomes and ability to access formal finance, and work with Lebanon’s capable institutions to usher in a new era in Lebanon’s financial sector evolution.”
This is where ground-breaking impact starts!!!!!