Islamic Microfinance Challenge Seeks Innovative Approaches to Reaching Unbanked Muslims
CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), the Islamic Development Bank, Al Baraka Banking Group, and Triple Jump today announced the launch of the second Islamic Microfinance Challenge, a global contest that invites applications from providers of Sharia-compliant microfinance products.
The first Islamic Microfinance Challenge, held in 2010, was won by Yemen's Al Amal Bank. This year's contest is entitled, "Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2013: Beyond Murabaha."
Through a $100,000 grant award and a video documentation effort generously sponsored by the German development agency GIZ, the Islamic Microfinance Challenge hopes not only to spur innovation, but also to help scale up application of Sharia-compliant products by financial institutions already serving large numbers of poor.
The number of Sharia-compliant microfinance providers has nearly doubled in recent years, and their outreach has quadrupled. But that outreach is still relatively small, reaching just over 1 million of the estimated 650 million Muslims living on less than $2 a day.
That, in part, is why this year's Challenge is inviting applications exclusively from Islamic financial services providers with a track record of reaching clients and existing Sharia-compliant products that they hope to take to scale.
More information about the Challenge as well as a downloadable application can be obtained by emailing [email protected]. Applications will be accepted through January 31, 2014.