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Welcome to SANAD’s Impact Report

To celebrate SANAD’s first ten years of operation, the fund is proud to publish its 2020 impact report, highlighting SANAD’s impact in supporting jobs and income generation for MSMEs in the MENA region.

How SANAD Generates Impact
By the end of 2020
SANAD had partnered with
0 financial institutions…
… which have enabled ,000 sub-loans to entrepreneurs and households…
… and support ,000 jobs.
Pathway to impact

SANAD leverages the power of blended finance to amplify its impact and outreach. In other words, the fund draws its capital from various layers: public investors provide a risk cushion to unleash the financial clout of private institutional investors. The fund then provides dedicated debt and equity financing to local financial intermediaries, who channel this money to MSMEs and households in line with the fund’s eligibility criteria and strategic priorities. In addition, the SANAD Technical Assistance Facility provides technical support, mentorship, and on-the-ground training to partner institutions, entrepreneurs, regulators, and other market players.

SANAD’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

SANAD contributes to eradicating poverty by meeting the basic financing needs of MSMEs and low-income households.

SANAD contributes to improving agricultural productivity and the livelihoods of small-scale food producers through secure and equal access to financial services.

SANAD contributes to economic development and job creation by enabling entrepreneurs to grow businesses, especially young entrepreneurs and MSMEs in rural areas.

SANAD contributes to inclusive industrialization by upgrading small-scale enterprises through improved access to finance and innovative solutions.

SANAD contributes to economic inclusion by sustaining and growing business income among marginalized entrepreneurs, such as women, youth, refugees, and rural populations.

As a blended finance fund, SANAD brings together public and private investors for sustainable development.

Approach to managing impact & sustainability

SANAD’s work towards its impact mission is supported by an impact management system that combines managing and mitigating potential negative outcomes with enhancing positive impact. Impact management is integrated throughout the fund’s entire investment cycle: from setting out objectives in SANAD’s strategy and thorough screening of potential investees – including their alignment with fund objectives and capacities to deliver impact – through to continuous monitoring and management once capital has been deployed.

SANAD works towards the Sustainable Development Goals and aligns with international standards and good practices. These include the Operating Principles for Impact Management, the IFC Performance Standards, and key responsible finance initiatives. In pursuing its sustainable investment objectives, SANAD falls within the scope of Article 9 of the Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 on sustainability‐related disclosures in the financial services sector (SFDR). Read more about SANAD’s approach to impact & sustainability, including our sustainability-related disclosures in line with the requirements of the SFDR, at:

Managing positive impact across the investment cycle
  • Guided by principles set out in fund documents
  • Aligned with international targets
  • Assess impact potential
  • Agree on eligibility criteria for financing to be provided
  • Agree on capacity building measures
  • Agree on reporting
  • Continuously monitor performance and assess impact
  • Engage with investee, including through technical assistance and on-site-visits
  • Conduct periodic end-borrower studies
  • Report on a regular basis
  • Integrate impact considerations to support sustainability of result achieved
  • Identify best practices and lessons learned
SANAD responded to the crisis with measures including:
 Increased investments across the region 

In 2020, SANAD approved record investments exceeding USD 161 million to channel much-needed liquidity to partner institutions and MSMEs to help them combat the economic effects of the crisis. These included loans in local currency – providing an additional safeguard in troubled times by protecting institutions and borrowers from exchange rate risks – as well as subordinated loans to bolster strategic partners and important MSME financiers. SANAD’s speedy response in this regard had systemic effects, as well, sending a signal of confidence that helped keep international investments flowing to the region. 

 Targeted technical assistance support for crisis response

As early as April 2020, the SANAD Technical Assistance Facility launched a COVID-19 Crisis Response Program to help financial service providers in the MENA region continue supporting MSMEs in the midst of the pandemic. The program, which continues through today, offers advisory services to fund investees on a comprehensive set of business topics. These include risk and liquidity management, stakeholder communication, human resource management, and other areas where partners seek to refine their response to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak. To date, the TAF has approved USD 3.5 million in support within the scope of this program. 

Accelerating digitalization through innovative product solutions

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the SANAD TAF is enhancing the fund’s crisis response measures by supplementing SANAD financing with three types of additional support. The first aims to bolster the stability and agility of local entrepreneurs in confronting a turbulent environment by enabling them to ramp up digital operations: MSMEs that use a SANAD-facilitated loan for new investments in their business, such as upgrading IT equipment or systems, are eligible to receive a grant as part of the loan. The second facility takes direct aim at costs incurred by the crisis by covering a portion of partner microfinance institutions‘ (MFI) expenses for pivoting its operations – especially the transition to digital systems and processes – in response to the unprecedented environment.. And finally, the third focuses on supporting the ability of SANAD’s partner MFIs to provide liquidity to MSMEs in uncertain circumstances, by financing part of the partner’s costs for credit risk insurance or credit  guarantees.  The innovative initiative will be available to selected SANAD partner institutions until the end of 2022. 

Countering the crisis’s disproportionate effect on women 

Although women make up less than a third of the workforce in the MENA region, they are expected to account for more than 40% of COVID-related job losses. The crisis has taken a particularly heavy toll on sectors where women are overrepresented, such as retail, care, and food service. School and daycare closures have added further pressure, with many households placing the responsibility for at-home schooling and childcare solely upon women. In line with its comprehensive, systemic approach to making a difference, SANAD also leveraged its strong international network to tackle the disproportionate effect of the crisis on women entrepreneurs. In 2021, SANAD joined with the German-Arab Women in Business Leadership (GAWBL) organization to establish the GAWBL.connect virtual meeting series. By bringing together women business leaders and key sector players from across the region, the GAWBL.connect series aims to better understand COVID-related implications and develop targeted solutions for such issues as financing women entrepreneurs during the pandemic; how companies can leverage diversity and inclusion initiatives to boost recovery and resilience; and how the pandemic can be a catalyst for progress. Four sessions have been held so far in 2021, attracting over 535 participants and viewers.

USD 2 million has been dedicated to grants for enhancing digital operations
Entrepreneurship and
Bridging the MSME financing gap in Egypt

Egypt’s newest microfinance institution, Sandah for Microfinance, was founded in the spring of 2018 as a joint venture between the SANAD Fund for MSME and the Arab African International Bank. It was the first internationally backed microfinance institution (MFI) in the country, obtaining a license from the Central Bank of Egypt shortly after the regulatory changes spurring growth of the MFI sector. SANAD supported the foundation of the company as well as its institutional build-up with extensive technical assistance support spanning the areas of risk management, product development, branch network rollout, and management support. The fund continues to strategically support the institution through its Board participation, steering it in line with its impact objectives.

Sandah aims to extend financial inclusion to the underserved – thus contributing to alleviating poverty and providing employment opportunities, especially across the Upper Egypt governorates. And with the strong support from SANAD, it has filled an urgent gap. In just over a year of operations, Sandah already opened its tenth branch in the country. And by the end of 2020, the institution had reached approximately USD 31 million in disbursements to microenterprises, serving over 13,000 customers.

SANAD Board Chairperson Dr. Daniela Beckmann remarked: “Micro and small business owners are the key to employment and income generation in many parts of Egypt, particularly in the governorates of Upper Egypt and the Delta Region. We at SANAD are proud to have helped create a landmark institution that specifically targets this important Egyptian community, providing the resources for hardworking business owners to grow and thrive.”

“Sandah for Microfinance is an example of SANAD’s comprehensive approach to sectorial support in our target countries,” adds Iveta Tancheva-Nikolova, Director at Finance in Motion, advisor to SANAD. “We go for long-term impact by investing in financial infrastructure. By bolstering the ability of the local financial sector to enable financial inclusion, we empower both institutions and entrepreneurs alike.”

Sandah is currently serving over 13,000 clients in the governorates of Upper Egypt and the Delta Region.
Client Impact Stories
When Pipe Dreams Come True

SANAD Impact Story
Ishaq Soufan, Israr Plastic Industries

Building long term partnerships

A Word From…
Anwar Jayosi, Faten

Building long term partnerships

A Word From…
Nermine El-Tahri, Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association

Building long term partnerships

A Word From…
Gamal Khalifa, Egyptian Federation of Microfinance

Local Currency Finance
Why is local currency financing important?

Foreign investment can represent a boon for some economies, especially in emerging markets. Yet it is not without risk. When banks borrow from international financiers in a foreign currency, they can either take on the exchange rate risk themselves or pass it on to their clients. And while currency volatility can negatively impact a bank’s own balance sheet, it can be truly perilous for the financial health of MSMEs that invest using one currency but earn their income in another. That is why SANAD has always been keen to offer financing to its partner institutions in local currency – sparing both financial service providers and end borrowers alike from direct exposure to ups and downs in the exchange rate. This frees up MSMEs and households to invest in their future without worrying about unforeseen depreciation or appreciation that could destabilize their financial planning. And especially in times of crisis or a challenging operating environment, this extra layer of protection helps create a stronger, more sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The SANAD Debt Sub-Fund has extended local currency financing to 13 MSME-dedicated financial institutions in the Middle East, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa.
flip cards to explore
Agricultural Finance
Boosting agricultural microfinance in Tunisia

Enda Tamweel is a pioneering Tunisian micro finance company working to increase financial inclusion to underserved populations, especially women, young people, and agricultural entrepreneurs. With its widespread branch network, including in rural areas, Enda Tamweel is also a key ally in enabling SANAD to channel financing to small businesses across Tunisia. SANAD’s support of Enda Tamweel began with an equity investment of more than USD 7 million in 2018. Since then, Enda Tamweel has provided tailored business loans to more than 400,000 micro enterprises. In addition, the SANAD Technical Assistance Facility and Enda Tamweel have been working together to expand the institution’s outreach to agricultural producers in particular. This involved taking a systematic approach to Enda Tamweel’s agricultural portfolio management. Together, SANAD and Enda Tamweel trained more than 30 staff, from senior management to loan officers, in the specific needs of agricultural businesses. An agrifinance strategy was developed to manage the risks of the agricultural portfolio through reasoned diversification, as well as to strengthen institutional agricultural skills and implement new technological tools that facilitate decentralized operations. And finally, concrete measures were undertaken to reach out to agricultural clients by opening new branches in rural areas, creating more mobile branches, and increasing the efficiency of Enda Tamweel’s rural operations. By the end of 2020, rural and agricultural clients comprised one-third of Enda Tamweel’s gross lending portfolio.

Support from the SANAD Technical Assistance Facility helped Enda Tamweel grow its agrifinance portfolio by 30% in two years.
Client Impact Stories
The Aboud Farm: An Adaptive Journey

SANAD Impact Story
Taieb Aboud, Farmer

Fintech and Digital Finance
Deploying digital solutions for financial inclusion in Morocco

The digitalization of financial services is one of the catalysts of financial inclusion, providing access to those underserved or excluded from the financial system. According to research by financial inclusion think tank Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), Morocco is the third largest fintech hub in the Arab world, hosting 13% of all 400 active fintech solutions, highlighting its advancement in digitalization. Digitalization promotes access to secure savings, payments, financing, and insurance solutions, enabling underprivileged segments of the population to better manage their finances, seize opportunities, and cope with financial shocks. Aware of the benefits of digitalization and in line with the Moroccan National Financial Inclusion Strategy that sees digitalization as a central component, Bank Al-Maghrib, together with the Foundation Marocaine pour l’Education Financière (FMEF), approached the SANAD Technical Assistance Facility to support them in developing a digital education program.

The program, which will be developed in several stages from 2021 to 2023, is expected to reach thousands of participants about the usage and benefits of new digital services and channels, such as mobile payment, microfinance, and inclusive insurance, thereby strengthening their capacity to use digital channels and instruments effectively and responsibly.

Morocco is the third largest fintech hub in the Arab world, hosting 13% of all 400 active fintech solutions in the region.
Client Impact Stories
Building long term partnerships

A Word From…
Martin Majlund & James Mwai, skygarden

How does SANAD support Fintech and Digitalization
in the MENA region?
Find out here.

By supporting partner institutions with digitalization through digital transformation, product development and the creation of online platforms for clients

By investing equity in fintechs for financial inclusion

By facilitating partnerships between financial institutions and fintechs in MENA

By supporting regulators with designing best-of-class fintech regulatory frameworks

By mobilizing mentorship and know-how transfer for the benefit of young fintech companies

By providing financing and cost-sharing to promote digitalization for partner institutions and MSMEs

By supporting partner institutions with digitalization through digital transformation, product development and the creation of online platforms for clients

By investing equity in fintechs for financial inclusion

By facilitating partnerships between financial institutions and fintechs in MENA

By supporting regulators with designing best-of-class fintech regulatory frameworks

By mobilizing mentorship and know-how transfer for the benefit of young fintech companies

By providing financing and cost-sharing to promote digitalization for partner institutions and MSMEs

Empowering Women
in Business
SANAD and Womenpreneur team up to close the gender gap

In 2019, an unusual van was seen traveling across North Africa. Emblazoned with the logo Womenpreneur Tour, the orange bus started in Morocco before stopping in Tunisia on its way to Jordan. The travelers had a clear goal: to map and connect female leaders in tech to explore the state of the startup ecosystem in the Arab world.
The first-of-its-kind awareness campaign was the result of a partnership between the SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy and the nonprofit Womenpreneur Initiative. Interviews, roundtables, mentoring sessions, and industry events brought together tech entrepreneurs, financiers, policymakers, and experts to discover the challenges faced by female business founders and explore possible solutions to overcoming them. Policy recommendations were

then shared with public institutions and interested parties to advocate for women’s equal participation in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. With the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, working women were faced with a new set of challenges. Overrepresented in service industries and largely responsible for at-home schooling and childcare, women accounted for over half of COVID-related job losses in 2020. That was why, in March 2021, the partners once again teamed up to launch the Womenpreneur Digital Hub. This free-of-charge online knowledge platform aims to help women hone valuable skills for the job market, such as financial knowledge, digital literacy, and business management. High-profile speakers provide insights into current industry trends and tips on

accessing career opportunities. And finally, the hub connects users for mutual information and support, experience exchange, and valuable network-building. In this way, the platform aims to help open up potential employment paths for those whose careers have been upended by the crisis.

To date, the joint activities of SANAD and Womenpreneur Initiative – through both the Tour and the Hub – have benefited a total of around 7,000 women in the region.
A second Womenpreneur Tour is planned for the end of 2021.
Client Impact Stories
Womenpreneur Tour

SANAD Impact Story
SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy and the Womenpreneur Initiative

What region in the world has the lowest proportion of women’s
participation in the workforce?
Choose your answer.
A Decade of Supporting Entrepreneurship and Employment

2011 SANAD established SANAD is initiated by KfW with support from the European Union and the German government. The innovative blended finance structure of the SANAD Debt Sub-Fund calls on capital from donor programs, providing a risk cushion to leverage additional funding from private investors.

2012 SANAD issues first local currency loans in Jordan, leveraging its internal hedging capacity provided by dedicated shares SANAD issues local currency loans to two microfinance institutions, MEMCC and Finca. SANAD Equity Sub-Fund inception SANAD Equity Sub-Fund inception

2013 SANAD’s first equity investment SANAD signs its first Equity Sub-Fund deal and becomes a founding shareholder of greenfield microfinance institution Advans Tunisie. SANAD initiator KfW leverages seed funding from BMZ and EU to invest in SANAD This makes KfW the first development bank to do so.

2014 10,000 sub-loans are dedicated for agricultural purposes, enabled by SANAD Debt Sub-Fund financing to parter institutions. SANAD Debt Sub-Fund surpasses cumulative total of USD 100 million invested into local financial institutions.

2015 SANAD Debt Sub-Fund financing to partner institutions enables 50,000 disbursed loans to local entrepreneurs. Austrian development bank OeEB provides their first funding to SANAD OeEB now a long-term SANAD investor, providing top-up funding in later years.

2016 SANAD raises first private sector funding The SANAD Debt Sub-Fund succeeds in raising its first private sector funding with GLS Bank, a remarkable milestone based on ist solid track record in achieving its goals while safeguarding its assets.

2017 SANAD rolls out Fincluders initiative The Fincluders Start-up Challenge in Amman and the Fincluders Bootcamp in Luxembourg and Frankfurt promote emerging fintech entrepreneurs whose innovations encourage financial inclusion for MSMEs and low-income households in MENA. Dutch development bank FMO invests in SANAD The list of development banks backing the fund broadens.

2018 Sandah for Microfinance launch SANAD becomes a founding shareholder of Sandah for Microfinance, the first microfinance company to be established since the Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority (EFRA) introduced a new framework governing microfinance. Calvert Impact Capital invests in SANAD Enters fund as the first private U.S. investor.

2019 SANAD launches Equity Sub-Fund II SANAD launches a new sub-fund to invest equity into local financial intermediaries that support financial inclusion and job creation

2020 COVID response The SANAD Technical Assistance Facility tackles the crisis with a series of measures to help partners grapple with operational difficulties. This includes a brand-new initiative providing grants to both financial institutions and small business owners to strengthen their ability to overcome the challenges of COVID-19, especially by implementing new digital systems and solutions. BMZ and E.U. invest additional capital in the fund Total of USD 125 million to strengthen the fund’s ability to deliver impact, including in times of crisis. SANAD expands to sub-Saharan Africa Fund and TAF initiate first partnerships with financial institutions in select countries to build links between this region and MENA for exchange of innovations and opportunities.

SANAD Impact Report 2020