The Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND) has announced plans to set up a bank in Mauritania while calling for more micro-financing institutions at the 73rd Arab Aid event in Riyadh, which was attended by Inger Andersen, VP for the MENA region at the World Bank.

On the occasion, Nasser Al-Qahtani, AGFUND executive director highlighted how micro-finance banks would create income and jobs for the vast majority of communities, saying: “We maintain a sustainable business that covers our expenses in the long term.

“Micro-finance should be utilised in order to reach out to the youth, providing products that help create self-employment opportunities. There are good stories of women and orphans using these loans to create jobs for themselves and others.”

Addressing the event on behalf of Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz, AGFUND’s president, Al-Qahtani, said that the AGFUND program has alreay established eight of these banks in various Arab countries including Jordan, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan and Palestine.

In 2014, AGFUND plans to establish further banks in Mauritania, as well as the Philippines and Tunisia. In order to set up these banks, it has established strategic relations with several organisations, providing a $224m loan and investing a further $13m in the venture.

Outlining other AGFUND programs, Al-Qahtani added: “We have created promising partnerships and new development alliances to train 100 young men and women in entrepreneurship, capacity building and poverty eradication.”

Since its foundation, AGFUND has contributed to the supportand financing of 1,268 projects in 133 developing countries. Until now, 952 projects have already been completed and 316 projects are under construction and implementation.

Also at Arab Aid was the Saudi Fund for Development, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development, the Islamic Development Bank, the OPEC Fund for International Development, the Qatar Fund for Development and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa.