Inspired from the Grameen Bank model, the group loan is the main financial service of the Zakoura Foundation for Microcredit.
Group loans, ranging from 500 to 5,000 MAD (US$ 50 to 500), are intended for the creation or for the development of income-generating activities that highlight the know-how of the entrepreneurs whose projects are funded. With these small amounts, the beneficiaries of the Zakoura Foundation become financially empowered and are able to benefit more from their economic activity. In turn, their families also benefit in a sustainable manner. Today, the Zakoura Foundation has about 200,000 people who are beneficiaries of group loans. Most of their activities are oriented towards trade and agriculture (source: 2005’ figures).
The applicants for a loan must create a group made up of 5 members who guarantee each other. The repayments are made each week during a one-hour meeting with the credit agent. The meeting takes place either in a secondary center close to the home address or workplace of the beneficiaries, or at the branch office. These weekly meetings also include a training session and/or awareness-raising session. The repayment period of the group loan is either 23 weeks or 35 weeks, with a 15-day grace period.