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Sanabel Overview


 Sanabel was established in 2002 when 17 representatives from 7 Arab countries gathered in Tunisia to launch the first and only network designed to serve microfinance institutions in the Arab world.  At this meeting the group adopted by-laws and membership criteria, articulated a vision, mission and objectives and elected an executive committee.  At its General Assembly meeting in December 2003, Sanabel members voted to formalize the organization by registering Sanabel as a not-for-profit organization and to establish a regional office.  In 2004, the organization was incorporated and registered as a nonprofit organization in both Atlanta, Georgia, USA and in Cairo, Egypt where the headquarters is located.

Between its founding in 2002 and the completion of its first strategic plan at the end of 2007, Sanabel grew to 60 members from 12 different countries.  By the end of 2007, Sanabel’s members served 2.4 million borrowers with a gross loan portfolio of USD 988 million.   The network had successfully completed its initial phase of development and was looking onto developing a new strategy that defined a more mature level of development. 

In late 2007, the Board of Directors, select members, and the Sanabel staff met to formulate a new vision, mission and objectives to match the evolving microfinance environment in the region.  Based on this direction the 2008 to 2012 Strategic Plan was drafted to cover Sanabel’s transition from an emerging institution to a member-driven, financially, and operationally viable network that consistently delivers relevant and high quality services to its members and the industry at large.


In January 2013, Sanabel Board of Directors and staff, with consultation from GIZ, met to set 2013-2015 strategic goals and objectives. Currently, Sanabel has 90 members from 13 Arab countries; namely Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. According to MIX Market, 30% of Sanabel’s members who reported their data to MIX have served around 1.6 million clients by end of 2013.



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