Microfinance (50)


Updated April 07/2021:The combined credit portfolios of all microfinance lenders in Syria reached SYP 28.6 billion last year, while deposits reached SYP 16.9 billion, according to statistics released by the Central Bank of Syria (CBS) for the first time, highlighting the government’s growing interest in this sector.


Syria has issued a new law to regulate the establishment of microfinance banks, a sector which looks set to thrive in the near future given the increasingly large pool of low-income Syrians.


Banque Bemo Saudi Fransi SA, Syria’s largest private conventional bank, has been granted a licence to launch a microfinance project with a prominent forex trader believed to be affiliated with influential Lebanese and Syrian business figures.


Investment in various projects including in partnership with microfinance institutions; touristic investments


A fund supporting economic activity in the north and northeast parts of Syria has announced its first micro-finance service.

This is an edited transcript of the speech of Bashar Al-Assad on September 02 following the appointment of the new government.


UPDATED on July 30, 2020: Following the closure of Rami Makhlouf’s microfinance bank, Asma Al-Assad is expanding the size and geographic presence of her financial institution.


The Syrian government has continued its campaign against Rami Makhlouf, effectively ending the operations of two more of his best-known business ventures, including his oldest and most recent ones, within a couple of days.


The table below lists 68 companies known to be affiliated with Rami Makhlouf.


The past week has seen a stunning succession of decisions, statements, appointments and resignations that illustrate the piling up of government pressure on Rami Makhlouf to silence him once and for all and restructure Syria’s telecommunications sector.


The rise of Rami Makhlouf as Syria’s most prominent businessman coincided with the ascent to power of Bashar Al-Assad in 2000. Given his long history of influence within the ruling elite, Mr Makhlouf’s recent side-lining raises many questions about the potential implications of his fall from grace.


Nour Microfinance, Rami Makhlouf’s latest venture, is set to start its operations.


Saudi Arabia is providing grant aid to UNRWA, including for its Syria programmes, helping partly offset the withdrawal of American funding.


Providing guarantees for loans to SMEs and microfinance projects


Syrian banks are expanding again their branch network as they seek to capitalize on the improving security situation across the country.


Micro-finance services


Rami Makhlouf has reportedly obtained a license to open a microfinance bank in Syria.


The Central Bank of Syria has revoked the license of one of the few microfinance institutions working in the country.


The Aga Khan Development Network is funding a water project in the town of Salamiya east of Hama.


The Central Bank of Syria has announced that it gave permission to two local micro-finance institutions to open branches in Damascus and its suburbs.


The First MicroFinance Institution - Syria, a micro-finance bank, said that it had extended some 20 thousand loans last year.


The Central Bank of Syria has licensed a new microfinance institution established by the Syria Trust for Development.


Syria's Central Bank has issued a decision obliging microfinance institutions to deposit the equivalent of 5 percent of their deposits as compulsory reserve.


 Syria’s financial industry has posted another year of significant growth across all sectors, according to the latest Syria Report business guide, Corporate Syria: Banking and Finance 2009.
The global financial and economic crisis appears not to have impacted significantly the industry, the report says.

The Syrian financial sector performed extremely well in 2007 according to the latest annual survey of the Syria financial sector, Banking and Financial Services Syria 2008.
Assets of the Syrian Banking Sector reached USD 34 billion at the end of 2007, an annual increase of 12 percent, while net credit facilities increased by 25 percent.

A Presidential decree has cancelled income tax on profits generated from investments in government securities amid a decrease in a number of other taxes and fees.


The Central Bank of Syria has further reduced the compulsory reserve requirements for local banks that extend a large part of their credit portfolio to SMEs and companies from the manufacturing and tourism sectors.


Bab Rizq Jameel, a Saudi-funded microfinance institution operating in Syria since 2009, said it had created 5,986 new jobs in the country last year.


The French Development Agency has announced that it would grant a concessionary loan of EUR 30 million to finance a project to improve the water infrastructure in the suburbs of Damascus.

The Syrian Ministry of Agriculture and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed on November 21 an agreement for a USD 27 million loan fund a livestock development project in Syria.

The French Development Agency has announced that it was providing an amount of EUR 20.4 million to finance Syria’s urban development projects.


Bab Rizq Jameel for Microfinance has been licensed as the country’s second micro-finance institution by the Central Bank of Syria.

The First MicroFinance Institution-Syria (FMFI-S) has opened a new branch in Damascus in the Maysat district.

Bab Rizq Jamil, a Saudi-based microfinance institution, has announced that it had obtained a license to operate in Syria.


Germany’s Development Bank, KfW, is providing new finance to FMFI, Syria's first microfinance bank to help it strengthen its capital base and lending facilities.


Grameen-Jamil has announced that it was guaranteeing a USD 2.7 million financial facility to the First MicroFinance Institution, Syria’s first micro-finance bank.

KFW is providing a EUR 52.8 million credit facility to the Syrian government to finance a water project in Aleppo.
The visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Damascus on September 3rd and 4th was concluded with the signing of a number of commercial agreements and memoranda of understanding between French and Syrian companies and institutions.
The Aga Khan Development Network is to develop two 5-star hotels in the old cities of Damascus and Aleppo.

Syria’s first microfinance institution has received a formal license by the Central Bank of Syria to start operations.


The Central bank of Syria has announced that it had awarded a preliminary licence to the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance to open Syria’s first Microfinance bank.


The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a loan of USD 20 million to Syria as part-financing of a project to create employment opportunities and reduce water shortages for rural populations.

On February 19, the Syrian President formally issued Law N°15, which authorizes the Credit and Monetary Council, the authority in charge of supervising the banking sector, to license financial institutions that will provide small loans and micro f...
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has agreed to provide Syria with a loan of USD17.5 million to finance a number of agricultural development projects in the Idlib governorate, in the north-western part of the country.
The United Nations Development Fund has announced the launch of the second phase of one of the most successful Micro-financing projects to date in Syria.