The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) recently witnessed the signing ceremony of the implementation agreements for the scale-up of the BRAVE program in Yemen. The Business Resilience Assistance for Value-adding Enterprises (BRAVE) project aims to enhance the resilience of SMEs in Yemen in vital sectors against the impact of the ongoing conflict.
The positive results of the first phase (2017-2018) included sustaining existing jobs, creating new ones and restoring trust links across the value chains and financial sector. This progress encouraged development partners IsDB, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the Small and Micro Enterprise Promotion Service (SMEPS) to launch the second phase of BRAVE.
Dr. Mansur Muhtar, vice president of sector operations, commended the progress made by the BRAVE project in providing livelihood support to Yemen by unleashing the private sector’s role in maintaining business resilience. Muhtar also highlighted the unique partnership model between the international donors, IsDB Group and the leading developmental and financial institutions of Yemen. Having raised $9 million in grants from the transition fund and another $32.24 million from the Women Entrepreneurs Financing Initiative (We-FI), the BRAVE model is in line with the P5P program of changing the IsDB Group into a bank of developers for development.
Ayman Sejiny, CEO of ICD, said: “The ICD will expand its support to this innovative program providing technical oversight and resource mobilization for SMEPS and our partner banks in Yemen. We are also working with our partners to adapt and adopt the BRAVE model to other comparable contexts where SMEs are in need of business resilience support to cope with business environment challenges. These interventions are also leveraging the established network partner banks of ICD in our member countries.”
Wesam Qaid, executive director of SMEPS, said: “The project has helped support SMEs to sustain more than 15,000 jobs and create around 1,000 additional direct jobs in the vital sectors of health, agribusiness, food processing and fisheries as a result of immediate improvement in the firms’ performance. More impact is expected in the upcoming scaling of the project across gender and value chain dimensions under the new wave of funding facilitated from IsDB Group.”
SMEPS was first established in Yemen in 2005 and it is a subsidiary of the Social Fund for Development in Yemen (SFD).
SMEPS aims to create more jobs, expand its beneficiaries and focus mainly on developmental projects, linking them to humanitarian work. It aims to achieve its goals by pursuing “creative strategies for micro, small and medium enterprises of diversity and growth through the market-oriented approach.”