AEC Entrepreneurs

Culturally relevant financial products create new access for Muslim entrepreneurs

Hawo Hersi Abdulle
Owner, Essential food boutique

“The Islamic banking product from AEC was in line with my faith as a Muslim and has significantly improved my business,” – Hawo

No longer do refugee clients – already at the edge of financial inclusion – need to choose between their faith and their business.

Hawo Hersi Abdulle lives in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp. Her business provides food essentials to fellow refugees and the surrounding host community. With her business slowly declining due to financial limitations, Hawo hoped to access finance in line with her beliefs. 

In Kakuma, there are very few providers of financial services for refugees – bank interest rates are high or require collateral, and savings groups often don’t offer enough capital for growth. 

Since 2016, AEC has been lending to refugees in East Africa.  With expansion to Kakuma, Mombasa, and other predominantly Muslim communities, we needed to adapt our financial products to fit market needs and values.

In 2020, AEC developed two new Sharia-compliance financial products in partnership with the imams of Kakuma and Islamic World Relief.  

As one of the first clients of the new revenue-sharing product, Hawo benefited from AEC’s Sharia-compliant financing. She received $800 USD in capital to stock more food items and meet increasing demands of her customers.

In 2021, AEC will expand this offering across Kakuma, into Mombasa, and into Garissa and Dadaab.

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