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Vitas | Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine

Vitas Group (Vitas), a for-profit subsidiary of Global Communities, continued its work lending to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the Middle East. In addition to maintaining their commitment to lending, Vitas also embraced innovation by developing new digital products and partnerships. Licensed by Central Banks, Vitas operates a unique network of microfinance companies with a proven track record of over 20 years of experience. Throughout 2023, Vitas provided a variety of loan products in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.

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Iraq

Vitas Iraq demonstrated significant strides in its mission to foster economic growth and empower communities through accessible financial services by disbursing a total of 13,509 business loans. This service facilitated the establishment and expansion of enterprises across various sectors. Additionally, Vitas Iraq made significant strides in advancing its operations, particularly in marketing, digitization and lending last year. There was a pivotal transition to lending using the local currency (Iraqi dinar) rather than the United States dollar, aligning more closely with the needs of clients. Moreover, Vitas Iraq’s collaboration with Zain Cash proved instrumental in enhancing the loan repayment process.

Embracing digital innovation, Vitas Iraq implemented an efficient loan app called Zain Cash. This app is the largest digital wallet of Iraq and is focused on digitizing the loan repayment process. Zain Cash works by bolstering client communication through streamlined notifications and fortified loan verification via OTP authentication. Additionally, Zain Cash allows clients to manage all the details of their active loans in an interactive app format. 

All told, these initiatives underscore Vitas Iraq’s commitment to adaptability and client-centric solutions.

 

Jordan

Vitas Jordan introduced new features on its innovative Tijarah platform to improve transparency and convenience for customers. Tijarah is a communications channel where buyers and sellers request goods and receive invoices. Through the platform, customers can apply for specific loan products like working capital and revolving loans. Customers and suppliers can monitor pending loans and withdrawal requests. 

New features introduced on Tijarah include a loan calculator and information on Vitas’ loan products that are available within the app. Now, customers can view their credit limit, loan history, amortization tables and deduction tables. Additionally, a page with helpful links to relevant information has also been added to the platform.

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Lebanon 

Vitas Lebanon began developing two new strategic partnerships in 2023. The first was with the World Bank on the Building Beirut Business Back & Better (B5) project. This project will add new portfolio funding in response to the growing market need by MSMEs for financing in fresh funds. In addition to its lending activities, the B5 project continued to support 633 businesses impacted by the 2020 Beirut blast, 30% of which are women-led. The second new partnership was with Proparco, a subsidiary of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Group, for a new guarantee facility that covers the risk of new loans issued up to $2.75 million. 

Vitas Lebanon also partnered with Michel Issa Foundation (MIF) for Local Development, to support and finance MSMEs in various sectors in the Mount Lebanon and Jbeil areas. Under this partnership, loans were dispersed in United States dollars to pilot test foreign currency lending after the recent Lebanese financial crisis.

 

Palestine

The first nine months of 2023 were some of the most successful times in Vitas Palestine’s 30-year history. Vitas Palestine had 20,085 clients (an 18% increase), a portfolio of $70,659,245 (an 11% increase), and digital loans were 15% of the portfolio. Vitas Palestine’s successful new digital loan product, which allows borrowers to complete most of their loans online, drove this growth. Additionally, Vitas Palestine built stronger relationships with funders, with a loan from Proparco in France and a guaranty facility from FMO, the Dutch government development bank.    

After the start of the Palestinian and Israeli war on Oct. 7, Vitas Palestine ceased all work in Gaza and maintained limited operations in the West Bank. The company is prepared to support reconstruction, economic recovery and lending for small businesses and housing repairs in Gaza once the war ends. Vitas Palestine has been lending in Gaza for almost 30 years, through several violent conflicts, and will continue its work once conditions allow.  

 

Notable Numbers

Total amount of loans disbursed to 5,177 clients in Jordan

Total support secured from the International Organization for Migration for economic development in Iraq

Number of Vitas Palestine clients (an 18% increase from 2022)

Percentage of Vitas Jordan clients who reported an improved capacity to pay for their children’s education