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The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Committing to contributing to the Millennium Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight overarching goals that aim to respond to the world’s most pressing development challenges by 2015. In 2008, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, invited global leaders to join forces at the MDG Business Call to Action. The purpose was to get companies to commit to assist with accelerating progress of the MDGs by adapting their core businesses to help meet the goals.

Standard Chartered’s commitment, announced by Chief Executive Officer Peter Sands, will provide innovative financial products, skills development, business mentoring and research to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) fulfil their growth potential.

The SMEs sector is the engine of growth for economies worldwide and makes up the vast majority of businesses. However, in many parts of the world, these SMEs are too large to qualify either as micro-enterprises or for donor support, and too small to be targeted by most commercial banks. The result is that they are chronically under-served.

We believe that encouraging SMEs to thrive will create wealth, by employing more people and paying more taxes.

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Microfinance can make a real difference

Microfinance can make a real difference

Clara Ibezim was born into poverty. Her father died young and her mother was disabled. Lacking a sound education and with no family or relatives who could support her, Clara married at 16.

Clara and her family subsisted on her husband’s meagre income. When Nigeria experienced economic recession in the late 1980s, it wasn’t enough to service the family budget. “We could no longer feed them well and my children were not getting the right care and attention,” she says. “They were even driven from school due to delay in the payment of fees.”

Clara’s life changed in 2004, when she was introduced to a credit officer from a Nigeria-based MFI and partner of Standard Chartered, the Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO). With a ₦10,000 ($85) loan from LAPO, Clara has transformed her business and her life.

Clara’s first loan enabled her to stock a small provisions business. Her prompt repayment led to another loan. Early business management training from LAPO had taught her to use the loans for business, rather than personal needs and to reinvest her profits into her business. She has now secured her eighth loan of ₦80,000 ($678). In total, Clara has received ₦360,000 ($3,051) from LAPO to develop her business.

“lt is very encouraging to note that the little business which I started with the sum of ₦10,000 ($85) has grown to a capital base of ₦300,000 ($2,542) within a short time,” she declares. “LAPO has given me support and fresh hope for the future.”

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Expanding microfinance partnerships to the Middle East

Expanding microfinance partnerships to the Middle East

At the end of 2008, we launched our first agreement to fund microfinance projects in the Middle East. Standard Chartered will initially make a JOD1.5 million ($2 million) facility available to Tamweelcom, a Jordanian MFI, to support micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the Kingdom.

Jordan has huge potential in the microfinance industry. The government’s National Strategy for Microfinance seeks to integrate the sector with the mainstream financial services industry.

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Inauguration of the largest dealing room in Pakistan

First Shariah-compliant bond issue

In 2008, the Pakistani Government issued its largest Islamic bond – or Sukuk – structured and arranged by Standard Chartered. The transaction ensures Islamic banks have Shariah-compliant security for the first time in Pakistan. This responds to Islamic financial institutions’ need for Shariah-compliant instruments to meet their reserve requirements.

The Sukuk raised funds for the Pakistani Government and provide it with a platform through which to tap the Islamic finance market. We are pleased to have been able to support the government with the structuring of the Sukuk programme. The transaction enabled the government to access the local market through a State Bank of Pakistan auction and to manage money supply in the system. Islamic banks subscribed to a significant portion of the issue. The Pakistani Government will now be able to borrow locally at more attractive rates, having previously been reliant on expensive foreign capital.

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