Financial inclusion, which encompasses the effective access to and use of available, affordable, convenient, quality and sustainable financial services, is central to poverty reduction and sustainable development.

In fact, access to finance underpins the international community’s development agenda as articulated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. 

This need is particularly evident in the MENA region, which has some of the highest unemployment rates in the world and rampant political, economic and social instability.

According to the World Bank, MENA also has the lowest bank loan usage of all regions except sub-Saharan Africa, and MENA small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)utilize equity investments at the lowest rate in the world.