MEII is staffed with a multi-disciplinary, multi-lingual and multi-cultural team of professionals with a broad spectrum of program management, legal, and development finance expertise. The bulk of this expertise is based in MENA, as MEII does not believe a top heavy organization can be effective. Developing local teams and knowledge, and supporting them with new technologies and innovation have been key ingredients in how we operate.
MEII has a sophisticated proprietary management information system (MIS) to manage the investment portfolio. In use for nearly ten years to manage MEII’s $330 million portfolio of loan guarantees across multiple programs and countries, the MIS provides an end-to-end solution from origination tasks such as pipeline tracking and investment analysis to post-disbursement actions including site visits, repayment tracking, and other monitoring events. The MIS tracks over 50 key data points for each investment including borrower/shareholder details, project location and sector, investment terms (interest, tenor, grace period, etc.), project cost breakdown, collateral, risk and impact rating, repayment schedules, amongst other data. In turn, the systematic tracking of data enables robust reporting capabilities to manage any portfolio.
The MIS, with some enhancements, is equipped to manage the Sharaka Fund. In addition to tracking at the individual investment level, the MIS is designed to manage multiple portfolios across various countries. Key terms and conditions can be established at a country and/or portfolio level (e.g., minimum and maximum investment amounts, maximum loan tenors, vetting requirements of specially designated nationals and blocked persons such as UN/OFAC lists) as well as the ability to establish multiple user privileges and restrictions. Thus, only certain users, such as a Chief Investment Officer, has the authority to approve an Investment.
Other highlights of the MIS include:
- A system generated, standard Investment Report created for every investment request sent to an Investment Committee;
- Built-in checks during the data entry process to ensure data integrity and consistency;
- Tool to manage investment officer workload and processing times;
- Multi-currency capabilities;
- Development impact rating tracking;
- Suite of standard reports (e.g., arrears monitoring, portfolio reports, amortization schedules) as well as a customized reporting tool with detailed filtering, grouping and design criteria;
- Notification mechanism to alert users of various actions (e.g., site visit reminder, changes to status of investments); and
- Audit trail providing information on which user processed transactions with time stamps.
The Middle East Investment Initiative (MEII) designs innovative finance products for small and medium sized enterprises. MEII has acquired a wide range of expertise throughout the region through:
STIMULATING LOCAL BANK LENDING
MEII has designed and manages four loan guarantee facilities totaling $330 million in Palestine and Tunisia. In addition, MEII provides local lenders with technical assistance primarily in the form of on-the-job training to enhance loan officer SME underwriting capabilities.
IMPROVING ENTREPRENEUR AND SME FINANCIAL LITERACY
MEII’s technical assistance programs target SMEs that want to develop and/or improve their accounting and book keeping capacities. Accounting while not as exciting as other issues, is a core building block for any business. MENA SMEs are increasingly becoming aware of its importance not only as a means to improve access to finance through financial transparency and disclosure, but also to improve their understanding of how well their businesses are performing.
TECHNOLOGY AND FINANCIAL INCLUSION
MEII constantly explores ways of leveraging technology to expand access to finance and financial inclusion.
SHARAKA INVESTMENT FUND
MEII seeks to apply its wide experience to become a direct source of capital to SMEs in the MENA region.