Silatech and Kiva Pioneer New Method of Charitable Giving for the Region


Doha --July 8, 2012-- In just 3 months, Kiva Arab Youth has mobilized over US$1 million in loans to more than 750 young entrepreneurs in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen. Kiva Arab Youth is a new initiative of Silatech and Kiva, the world's largest microlending platform. The initiative enables anyone with US$25 and Internet access to make a loan to a budding young Arab entrepreneur.
 
Dr. Tarik Yousef, Chief Executive Officer at Silatech, noted the gap that Kiva Arab Youth fills in the region, saying "The Arab world contains large numbers of aspiring young entrepreneurs who struggle to find financing for their fledgling businesses. At the same time, Arab culture places a high value on charity and giving back to the community. Kiva Arab Youth provides a transparent platform that links the need for financing with the huge, but largely untapped, charitable potential of the Arab world."
 
In March 2012, Kiva partnered with Silatech, a Qatar-based social initiative focused on youth employment and entrepreneurship, to launch Kiva Arab Youth. Visitors to the site, kiva.org/arabyouth, can lend to young, Arab entrepreneurs of their choice starting with the equivalent of only US$ 25. In only three months of the initiative operation, young Arab entrepreneurs have received loans from over 20,000 individuals worldwide through Kiva Arab Youth. To double the impact for borrowers, Silatech is funding a total of $250,000 in matching loans.

Since its inception in 2005, Kiva lenders have provided more than $320 million in loans to 800,000 borrowers worldwide. Loans funded through Kiva have a 98% repayment rate, so the money you lend is likely to come back to you. Kiva does not charge interest to field partners distributing their loans, and does not provide interest to lenders. It is truly lending for social good.
 
According to Justin Sykes, Director of Microenterprise at Silatech, "Online lending platforms like Kiva Arab Youth are an attractive option for socially conscious charitable givers because virtually anyone can be a lender, and because they offer motivated young Arab entrepreneurs a 'hand up' rather than just a handout."

As borrowers repay their loans, lenders have the option to re-loan their funds again to other worthy entrepreneurs, thereby having an impact many times over.

"These young entrepreneurs have all the elements of success--except access to capital," said Premal Shah, President of Kiva. "What if the money stored in your wallet was given a new life, a purpose for a short amount of time, as a loan to a young entrepreneur? You would be setting in motion a tremendous ripple effect that continues long after the money is repaid. A single loan, a single business or a single job can help to change the trajectory of families, communities, and entire regions."

Silatech and Kiva are currently identifying additional local and regional microfinance partners that can join Kiva's network and expand the range of opportunities available to youth in the Arab world.

More than 100 million young people between the ages of 15 and 29 now represent 30% of the Arab world's total population. With two-thirds of its population under the age of 24, the region faces an unprecedented "youth bulge." The Arab world already has the highest rate of youth unemployment, and current projections predict that job creation will not keep pace with the growing number talented Arab youth anxious to participate in the global economy. Supporting the ever-growing entrepreneurial spirit amongst this young population is one of the surest solutions to brightening the region's economic future. Silatech was established in 2008 to help respond to the scale and urgency of this challenge.
 
About Silatech:
Silatech is an innovative social enterprise, established to address the critical and growing need to create jobs and expand economic opportunities for young people. The initiative promotes large-scale job creation, entrepreneurship, and access to capital and markets for young people, starting first in the Arab world, where the highest rate of youth unemployment exists. Silatech has introduced a holistic model for youth micro-enterprise in the Arab region which has supported thousands of youth businesses start or grow over creating more than 30,000 jobs in the process. For more information, please visit: http://www.silatech.com
 
About Kiva:
Kiva is a non-profit organization working to alleviate poverty by connecting people around the world through microlending. With as little as a $25 loan, anyone can help a borrower create new opportunities for themselves and their family. Together with more than 780,000 Kiva lenders and a worldwide network of 142 microfinance institutions, Kiva has created economic opportunity for more than 815,000 borrowers. Since its inception in 2005, Kiva lenders have funded more than $320 million in loans with a 98.9% repayment rate. Kiva is headquartered in San Francisco, CA. For more information, please visit: www.kiva.org
 
Media Contacts:
Tarek Kassar
Head of Communications, Silatech
Tel: +974.4499.4827
Email: tkassar@silatech.com

Jason Riggs
Communications Director, Kiva
Tel: +1.415.857.8668, 
Email:  jason@kiva.org
 
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