MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Islamic Development Bank (ISDB), Government of Punjab Provide $195m for Microfinance Facility in Pakistan

The Islamic Development Bank (ISDB) will disburse a loan of PKR 14.6 billion (USD 146 million) with a 0.5 percent interest rate per year to the Punjab provincial government of Pakistan. The money will be used for a microfinance facility that will provide interest-free loans to small enterprises in the province, which is home to approximately 90 million people. The Punjab government plans to provide an additional grant of PKR 5 billion (USD 49.9 million) to support the facility. The project reportedly is modeled after the Akhuwat Scheme, it will offer loans of the same size, and like the Akhuwat Scheme, this new facility will not accept deposits. As of July 2013, Akhuwat reported to the US-based nonprofit Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) a gross loan portfolio of USD 15.1 million, approximately 140,000 active borrowers and operations in 162 branches across Pakistan.