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Islamic Microfinance Challenge Seeks Innovative Approaches to Reaching Unbanked Muslims

WASHINGTON, 25 November 2013 - CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), the Islamic Development Bank, Al Baraka Banking Group, and Triple Jump today announced the launch of the second Islamic Microfinance Challenge, a global contest that invites applications from providers of Sharia-compliant microfinance products.

The first Islamic Microfinance Challenge, held in 2010, was won by Yemen’s Al Amal Bank. This year’s contest is entitled, “Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2013: Beyond Murabaha.”

Through a $100,000 grant award, the Islamic Microfinance Challenge hopes not only to spur innovation, but also to help scale up the application of Sharia-compliant

products by financial institutions already serving large numbers of poor.

The number of Sharia-compliant microfinance providers has nearly doubled in recent years, and their reach has quadrupled. But that reach is still relatively small - just over 1 million of the estimated 650 million Muslims living on less than $2 a day.

That, in part, is why this year’s Challenge is inviting applications exclusively from Islamic financial services providers with a track record of reaching clients and existing Sharia-compliant products that they hope to take to scale.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Sue Pleming, CGAP

Head, Knowledge Products, Web and Communications

About CGAP

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