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One World with Zain Asher
Israel-Hamas Truce Ends Soon; Israeli Forces Conduct An Operation In The City Of Jenin; Wife Of Top Military Intelligence Official, Poisoned. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired November 29, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome everyone. Thank you so much for being with us on this Wednesday afternoon. Coming to you live from New York, I'm Zain
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Bianna Golodryga. You are watching ONE WORLD. The clock is ticking on what may be the final hours of a truce
between Israel and Hamas. Without an extension, the fighting could start again, meaning that it's likely aid to Gaza could be impacted and we likely
wouldn't see any more hostages released.
ASHER: And in terms of today's hostages being released, though, that could actually come at any moment now. We are awaiting word on that but with time
running out until the end of this truce, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is headed to the region hoping to nudge and encourage the two sides
to make another deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We'll be focused on doing what we can to extend the pause so that we can continue to get more hostages out
and more humanitarian assistance in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: The key to extending the truce is the release of more hostages. Israel says Hamas or other groups still have more than 160 people that were
kidnapped on October 7th. And we just received sobering news about the Bibas family.
Four-year-old Ariel and his 10-month-old brother, baby Kfir, along with their mother and possibly their father, were all taken captive in the Hamas
terrorist attack. Israel's military says that it is now investigating a claim by Hamas that the brothers and their mother are no longer alive.
ASHER: Let's go straight right now to CNN's Jeremy Diamond. He's close to the Israel-Gaza border in the town of Urim. Jeremy, thank you so much for
being with us. I mean, if this is true, if this sort of claim about the Bibas family is true, it is incredibly gut-wrenching.
I'm told that every single day, Israelis sort of wait with baited breath for that list to come out in terms of who are the hostages that are going
to be released and every day Israelis ask themselves, are the red-headed brothers on that list? Are the red-headed boys coming out today? And just
to hear that this family may no longer be alive, I mean that is what you call collective trauma in terms of what the people of Israel are going
through right now.
Israel has really become, since October 7th, a nine million member family, right? And people are really feeling each other's pain. Just talk to us
about what this means -- what this news means to ordinary people in Israel.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No doubt about it, this entire country has been closely following the case of the Bibas family. And indeed, people
around the world have been, as we saw those images on October 7th, this was perhaps one of the most striking images, was that mother Shiri Bibas
clinging to her two red-haired sons with Hamas militants all around them.
And for weeks now, we have been waiting to see whether or not they would emerge alive. And I can tell you, I've been in touch with a member of the
Bibas family, Isad Tyler, Shiri's cousin and she has waited day after day, learning the news that her family members were not on the list.
Now, earlier today, Hamas did indeed claim that the mother, Shiri Bibas and her two sons fear just 10 months old, the youngest Israeli hostage and his
four-year-old brother Ariel, Hamas claimed that they were killed in an Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military for its part
says that it is looking into these reports and that it has been in touch with the Bibas family about Hamas' claims.
But at this stage, they have yet to actually be able to confirm the veracity of that statement. We should also note that there is now a
statement from the Bibas family themselves. In it, they say, quote, "Our family has learned of Hamas' latest claims. We are waiting for the
information to be confirmed and hopefully refuted by military officials. We thank the people of Israel for their warm support, but kindly request
privacy during this difficult time."
And earlier this week, we actually learned from the Israeli military that they believe that the Bibas family was not being held by Hamas, but rather
by another Palestinian militant group in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis. And you know, they've just been, the family has just been waiting
to see whether or not their loved ones would be released.
We should also note that the father, Yarden Bibas, was also believed to be taken captive on October 7th. We do not know of his condition. His name was
not mentioned in that statement from Hamas' military wing. I can also tell you that minutes after Hamas made this claim, I was on a briefing call with
a senior Israeli official and I asked him about this.
He told me -- I hope it's not true -- and he said that they had no indication at that time that the Bibas family had been killed. So, we will
wait to see whether or not the Israeli military has more to share, but certainly, this is very, very difficult news if indeed it is true, not only
for the Bibas family, but indeed for the entire country.
ASHER: Listen, we all hope that this news is not true and of course it is important that we respect the privacy of the Bibas family right now. God
knows what they are going through. Jeremy Diamond live for us there. Thank you so much.
All right, let's talk about Gaza now because this temporary pause has given people in Gaza a real chance to sort of take a look at the full scale of
the devastation in terms of what they're going through. This footage, take a look here, was actually shot in Khan Younis.
Remember, this is in southern Gaza, right? This is one of the places that was supposed to be safe, where people in northern Gaza were actually
fleeing to. You can actually see buildings on either side of the road that have been completely flattened, entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble.
GOLODRYGA: And just hours before the truce possibly comes to an end, the Gazans are desperately stocking up on supplies, waiting in line for
essential items. USAID Administrator Samantha Power says sustaining the flow of critical aid to Gaza will be crucial in the days and weeks ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA POWER, ADMINISTRATOR, USAID: We are seeking with our international partners to take full advantage of this pause, but also to
make sure that the flow of trucks and supplies continues, that this is not -- this becomes a new normal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: So, let's take a closer look at the truce talks. We're joined now by our -- we can say this now -- our political and foreign policy
analyst, Barak Ravid. Welcome to the CNN family. You are such an asset for us. So, let me ask you about possibility of extending this truce. There are
reports that Hamas may be open for as many as four additional days. What are your sources saying about how the Israelis are approaching this
BARAK RAVID, CNN POLITICAL AND FOREIGN POLICY ANALYST: Hi, Bianna. It's great to be on the show and great to be in CNN. To your question, I think
the Israelis are still very careful when it comes to, you know, confirming that there will be an extension of the pause by another few days. The pause
is supposed to end at midnight tonight, so we still have a few hours for those negotiations to bear fruit.
For now, what I hear from Israeli officials is that they did not get any indication that Hamas agrees to release more hostages in the coming days in
order to allow for an extension of the pause. And the Israelis are saying another thing, which is very interesting.
In my opinion, they say that they will not discuss any further deals, meaning on soldiers, on men who are held hostage or anything else, before
all women and children are released from Gaza. And the Israelis think that there are still something between 30 to 40 women and children that are
still held hostage in Gaza.
ASHER: Barak, I want to play you something that Prime Minister Netanyahu said just a few hours ago. Let me roll it and then we can discuss on the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We are committed to completing our missions, freeing all of the hostages,
eliminating this terrorist organization above and below ground, and of course to ensure that Gaza not return to being what it was, will no longer
constitute a threat to the state of Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: How much of those goals are actually realistic at this point in time? In terms of freeing all the hostages, I mean, Hamas doesn't even know
where 40 of these hostages actually are. Some of them may be being held by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Others might be held by individuals.
And, obviously, the idea of destroying Hamas is, of course, a very, very complicated long-term goal. God knows if that's even possible. Just in
terms of where the IDF picks up after this truce, what is realistic going forward for them?
RAVID: I think that's a very good question, because if you ask Israeli officials, you'll get at least -- I got three different answers to this
question from three different people in three different branches of government. And this shows you that also along political lines, there are
Let's start with the issue of the hostages. I think that right now at this moment, it might change, but at least at this moment, the hostage track is
the most promising one for the Israeli government at the moment. And they think that Hamas does know where all the women and children are and can get
them if it wants.
And therefore they want to try and at least finish implementing this first deal that can go as long as nine days of pausing in return for all the
women and children. This is their goal right now, and they think it is achievable. When it comes to resuming the military operation, I think it's
a valid question. You don't hear the same thing from everybody in the Israeli government.
And even Netanyahu that said today, as we just heard, that you know, he is ready to resume the operation and to go and try to destroy Hamas, I'm not
sure that will be his answer if tomorrow Hamas comes and says, you know what, we're ready to extend the pause for more than nine days in return,
for example, for elderly men that we are holding a hostage. And there are several dozen of those. I'm not sure Netanyahu will say no to such a
proposal. Therefore, I think the jury is still out when it comes to the resumption of the military operation.
GOLODRYGA: And it appears that's why the Israelis continue to hold Hamas and Hamas solely responsible for the whereabouts and safety of those
hostages, despite the fact that Hamas is saying that they may not have all of them. They may be in different groups like Islamic Jihad, even among
civilians. Israel continues to say it is on Hamas' hands to bring them back. Barak Ravid, thank you so much for joining us. We'll be seeing you
RAVID: Thank you very much.
ASHER: Thank you, Barak. And welcome to the CNN family, as well. All right, I want to talk about rising tensions in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli forces conducted an operation in the city of Jenin.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah. The IDF says that it carried out counterterrorism activities near the densely populated areas to Jenin refugee camp. Doctors
Without Borders reports two Palestinians died from their wounds in Jenin Tuesday and after Israeli military vehicles blocked the hospital entrance,
preventing ambulances from leaving.
ASHER: Worth-noting that the half-square-kilometer camp is home to more than 17,000 Palestinian refugees. It has long been a flashpoint for
violence, with Israel often alleging that terrorists operate within the district. CNN's Ben Wedeman joins us now from Jerusalem. Ben, a lot of
concerns about where things may stand in the West Bank and continued unsettling there and even more rioting. Tell us what you're seeing and
hearing on the ground.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is really, Bianna and Zain, part of a pattern that has really intensified since the
7th of October, where we have seen more than 240 Palestinians killed, some of them by armed settlers, most of them by the Israeli army. Now, the army
went into the Jenin refugee camp at about 9 P.M. last night. They went in with dozens of military vehicles backed up with bulldozers, with drones
We were actually in Jenin -- the refugee camp, yesterday before this incursion took place. What the Israelis do is they will go in with these
bulldozers and just plow up all the roads, which oftentimes breaks the sewage pipes, the water pipes, and the infrastructure, the electricity in
Now, they declared it a closed military area. And as you said, they said this was anti-terrorism activity. Now, there are militants in the refugee
camp. But of course, in the refugee camp, they're not seen as militants. They're seen as fighters against a decades-long military occupation by
Israel of the West Bank.
Now, you mentioned the blocking of access to the hospitals. That's why two people died, apparently, the Israelis, as is the custom when they go into
Jenin. They surround the hospitals, don't let anybody go near them. So, two people died because they couldn't get treatment in time.
In addition to that, Israeli soldiers shot two boys, one aged 14, one aged eight. And this sort of raid, this sort of incursion is a regular event.
Residents of the camp yesterday told us that since August, there have been more than 35 individual incursions into the camp. Just last of Thursday
going into Friday, four people were killed in that raid, as well. So, this has been very much the brunt of intense military action by the Israelis
going back months if not years.
GOLODRYGA: All right, Ben Wedeman in Jerusalem reporting for us. Thank you.
ASHER: All right, still to come here on ONE WORLD. Freeing them was just the first step. What doctors are saying about the sort of medical
assistance that former hostages will need -- when we come back.
GOLODRYGA: Each hostage released by Hamas has a story to tell of almost two months in captivity.
ASHER: Yeah, there's a fear that they may never be the same again. Among them is a Filipino man who was working as a caregiver at kibbutz Nir Oz on
October 7th. Here's our Oren Liebermann with more on his story.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jimmy Pacheco was never supposed to be a part of this conflict but he walked out of
Shamir Hospital, swept up in a war that wasn't his.
GELIENOR "JIMMY" PACHECO, RELEASED HOSTAGE (through translator): I really didn't think that they will keep me alive knowing that they already had
killed my employer.
LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Pacheco is from the Philippines, one of tens of thousands of foreign workers who often come as caretakers of farm hands. In
kibbutz Nir Oz, near the Gaza border, he cared for the elderly Amitai Bin Zvi. The kibbutz was destroyed on October 7th and Bin Zvi was murdered.
Mati is his brother.
M. BIN ZVI, BROTHER OF AMITAL BIN ZVI: When the terrorists went to the house, my brother was thinking, oh, you know, to save Jimmy because he knew
that he cannot run. Jimmy said, no, I'll stay with you because that's what I'm doing, you know, that I'm supposed to do.
LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Mati Bin Zvi says Jimmy Pacheco had become a part of the family.
M. BIN ZVI: The whole world knows about Jimmy, you know, and that's due to my brother's sons because he was so dear to my brother, you know.
LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The Philippines Embassy in Israel released this video of Pacheco. It is one of the first times we've heard directly from a
PACHECO (through translator): Regarding losing weight, it is normal that I would be like this because the food they gave was not enough.
LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Pacheco was about to finish his five-year contract in Israel when he was taken hostage. For the Filipino community in
Israel, 30,000 strong, the attack of October 7th was deeply personal. Four of their own were killed in the attack.
In a surprise move, Hamas has released 17 Thai citizens during the first days of the truce, as well as Jimmy Pacheco. The Philippines ambassador to
Israel says four Filipinos were murdered on October 7th and two taken hostage.
PEDRO LAYLO, JR., PHILIPPINES AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: Most of the Filipino workers chose to stay and they believe that, you know, they've been here
for years already that Israel will be able to weather the storm.
LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The sons of the man for whom Pacheco cared met him at the hospital upon his release, a sign of the bond they shared. Soon
after Jimmy Pacheco was released, he spoke with his wife, who celebrated the chance to see him again.
PACHECO (through translator): When I was in Gaza City, I had already lost my faith that I would stay alive and didn't think I would be able to come
back to my family. I gathered strength from our Lord and from my kids. In my mind, I knew I could surpass this.
LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Jimmy credits his survival to his faith. He'll head home in a few weeks to his own family in the Philippines, a reunion
that'll come just in time for Christmas. Oren Liebermann, CNN in Tel Aviv.
ASHER: And of course, it's important to note that freeing the hostages from their ordeal in Gaza is just really the first step, just in terms of
helping them overcome what they've been through and bringing them back to a sense of normality.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, a long road to recovery there. Psychologists say most of those who've been released are probably suffering from anxiety, depression,
and post-traumatic stress. And despite the smiles and hugs as they greet their loved ones, there is likely to be guilt and grief, as well. Some of
them are only now finding out that family and friends were killed on October 7th. That includes children who are having to be told that one or
both of their parents are now dead.
ASHER: Let's talk more about this with Dr. Ronit Lubetzky. She's the head of the pediatric department at the Tel Aviv-Sharansky Medical Center. It's
one of the three hospitals in Israel that's receiving children released from Gaza. Dr. Lubetzky, thank you so much for being with us.
I mean, when you think about what some of these children have gone through. Eitan Yahalomi, 12 years old, was beaten and was forced to watch videos of
the October 7th massacre. Emily Hand, that we've talked about many, many times on this show, she turned nine in captivity. Her dad was telling us
just yesterday that she now speaks in whispers, right? She only really whispers when she's speaking.
And also this idea that she thought she'd been in captivity for a year when it was of course a couple of months. Just talk to us about the protocols
that exist for doctors at your medical center in terms of how you handle some of the children who have been through this level of trauma.
RONIT LUBETZKY, HEAD OF PEDIATRIC DEPARTMENT, TEL AVIV, SOURASKY MEDICAL CENTER: And I say that for us, this is such an abnormal event that's
happening that we're dealing with protocols, how to get, you know, kids that are coming back from being captive in a closed place. And what we're
doing is we're trying to make the procedure as less massive and as we can. And when they are arriving, we're trying to protect them at the beginning
from the environment that just, you know, let them in.
The whole process of passing in, you know, they arrive in helicopters after everything they've been through and they're just, you know, entering a
special department that's made for them and trying to show them if there are familiar faces, the most familiar faces that the main, you know, take
the one that will take care of them is with them. And then, what we're trying to do is minimize the stress around them just to start saying hi,
not doing anything except letting them meet the ones that they know and love and that will calm them down.
Now, the environment has to be like you know we're trying to make the environment as pleasant and possible and not too much because they have
been suffering from overload of everything. So, the first steps are we're not doing anything -- nothing invasive if the clinical situation is
enabling us. So, we just let them, you know, come in, meet the families after a quick evaluation by social workers to see if it's okay and then
they're with the families.
And the next steps after, it's a little bit relaxed -- it's a major event. You cannot imagine how terrible this thing is. So, afterwards, slowly and
gently, we're entering the medical issues and the nutrition, psychosocial issues, there are so many things to handle. But the first, the coming has
to be calm as much as possible, and then slowly to get into the managing this huge, horrible event.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, Dr. Lubetzky, it is something that's unprecedented that Israelis are facing. I can't think of any other country that has faced
trauma like this at such a scale in modern history. You talk about the psychological road to recovery and the steps being taken there, but there's
also the physical needs and deficiencies that these children face. I know that you mentioned vitamin deficiencies and the fact that many of these
children lost 10 to 17 percent of their body weight in the past seven weeks in captivity.
LUBETZKY: Yes, the whole nutrition issue is a major issue. And in pediatric population, even more. And imagine 54 days of being in a place
where you get not enough calories to start with, so they're losing weight. And it's not only the calories because the quality of the food, it might
be, you know, they're getting food which is not enough regarding macronutrients, not enough protein, not enough fibers, not enough vitamins,
plus being in a closed space with no exposure to sun. So, there's lots of issues regarding the nutrition.
We even know that the food that they had like very small amounts of, you know, bread or rice and there are lots of things like constipation issues
and deficiencies that they were suffering from. Now, when they return, the first thing you want to do is give them food and feed them.
And this is also dangerous because after being low in caloric supply for such a long time and you lose -- you know, kids that are losing nine, 10
kilograms from their weight in such a period, then you have to be careful not to cause a re-feeding syndrome which is dangerous.
So, everybody wants to give and bring food and candies and the best, you know, the food that they like and we have to prevent -- I was trying to
take food out of rooms of kids so they will not each much, not to get the electrolyte and balance that could be caused if you eat too many things,
especially sweet things. So, this is very difficult.
ASHER: Such a delicate balance. I mean, these children have been through so much and it's likely that it will obviously affect them for quite some
time. Dr. Ronit, we have to leave it there. Thank you so much. We appreciate you joining us.
GOLODRYGA: Thank you, Dr. Lubetzky. Well, it was about this time yesterday that we spoke with the First Lady of Israel, Michal Herzog, about the lack
of an international response to reports that Hamas militants may have raped and sexually assaulted some of their victims on October 7th.
ASHER: And here's how the U.N. Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, responded during a Security Council meeting.
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL: According to Israeli authorities, more than 1200 people were killed, including 33 children, and
thousands were injured in the abhorrent acts of terror by Hamas on 7th October. Some 250 people were also abducted, including 34 children. And
there are also numerous accounts of sexual violence during attacks that must be vigorously investigated and prosecuted. Gender-based violence must
be condemned anytime, anywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Well, Hamas has continued to deny those allegations of sexual assault.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, and that was clearly not enough of a statement from an Israeli standpoint and many organizations that support women, but maybe
it's a first. Well, now, a bittersweet tribute for the hundreds of people killed at the Nova Music Festival in southern Israel on October 7th.
On Tuesday, five Israeli DJs returned to the site of the massacre to play a set of music in front of large photos of the victims. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: One of the DJs playing that set said that this was how the revelers would want to be honored, that they'd want the party to go on in their
name. Israeli police say that Hamas militants murdered at least 364 people at that festival. That day, so many of them tried to outrun the gunfire,
but simply had nowhere to hide. The somber event held in their honor was called DJ Plays for the Angels.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Coming up for us -- why Ukraine believes Russia is behind an attack on the wife of this military commander. Find out what happened to
her after the break.
ASHER: All right, welcome back to ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher.
GOLODRYGA: And I'm Bianna Golodryga. The top U.S. diplomat is in Brussels for a NATO meeting. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also met with
Ukraine's foreign minister. One of Kyiv's concerns is that the Israel-Hamas conflict is taking attention away from Russia's war on Ukraine. Blinken
reiterated that NATO's support for Ukraine is unwavering.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLINKEN: I heard a strong, enduring commitment on the part of Alliance members to Ukraine, to making sure that it had what it needs to defend
itself, to retake territory seized from it by Russia, but also to build itself up so that it can stand strongly on its own feet, militarily,
economically, and democratically.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Also in Ukraine, we are getting word that the wife of a top military intelligence official has been poisoned. That's the word from
Ukrainian officials who say that Marianna Budanova has been hospitalized with apparent heavy metal poisoning.
GOLODRYGA: Her husband is the head of an intelligence agency that is deeply involved in efforts to drive Russian forces out of Ukraine.
Ukraine's foreign minister told our Erin Burnett that he wouldn't be surprised if Russia was behind it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DYMTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: And Russia has proven itself many times before as a country that uses poison as a mean to kill its
opponents and its enemies. And definitely, our intelligence chief is the enemy of Russia, as all of us are, all those who are fighting against
So, it's highly likely that Russia is behind it, but I'm not making any official conclusions, so I leave it to the experts to make.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Katie Bo Lillis joins us now from Washington with more details. So, Katie, what more do we know about this? And who are these experts that
he's waiting to hear more from? What does U.S. intel know about it?
KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN REPORTER: Yeah, Bianna. Still a lot more questions that answers in this very mysterious case right now.
Here's what we know from Ukrainian officials. We know that the wife of the top official at Ukraine's military intelligence agency has been
hospitalized for the past week with heavy metals poisoning.
We're told by one source that she has tested positive for arsenic, among other heavy metals. So, we also know from our Ukrainian sources that some
members of the staff at the same military intelligence agency have also been sickened.
Now, U.S. and Western intelligence officials tell me that, for now, they can't independently confirm the poisoning, but they do broadly believe that
Ukrainian reports are accurate. Beyond those basic facts, though, Bianna, there's -- things get a lot more murky here.
We do know, of course, that Russia, both in pre-Soviet, Soviet, and now modern times, has a penchant, shall we say, for using poison to carry out
extrajudicial killings outside of its own territory. Obviously, you heard just now from the Ukrainian foreign minister that he says he believes that
it is highly likely that Russia is behind this poisoning.
But he also says no official conclusions to be drawn yet. And it is certainly true that it is at this point, based on the information that we
have now, certainly plausible that Marianna Budanova and the other staff members were sickened from some kind of environmental exposure.
I spoke to one toxicology expert who said that without a more detailed understanding of both the symptoms in question, the test results, as well
as any kind of environmental, including food exposure, that these people may have had, impossible to draw a firm conclusion. So we'll be watching
GOLODRYGA: All right. Katie Bo Lillis reporting for us. Thank you.
ASHER: And we'll be right back here on ONE WORLD with much more after the break.
GOLODRYGA: In Africa, about 80 percent of people with jobs work in small or medium-sized businesses, the kinds of firms that need all the help they
can get to survive and hopefully to prosper.
ASHER: Right, we're going to take a look right now at a financial tech firm in Uganda that's growing by helping other businesses thrive. Take a
MINA SHAHID, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF NUMIDA: Small businesses matter in Africa because they are the primary driver of economic growth and
development across the continent.
Hi, my name is Mina Shahid. I'm the co-founder and CEO of NUMIDA. We said from day one that we wanted to figure out how do you give a $500 unsecured
working capital loan to someone who's never borrowed before from a financial institution, but they have a shop that's making money, that's
supporting their family, that's employing people in their community. How do you do that in an effective way? And I really do believe that we have
figured that out.
ROBERT ONGIMAKOL, CEO, ELEGANT DESIGNS: So, NUMIDA has been able to help me grow my capital. And every time when I want to add in additional stock
and I do not have enough cash, I am able to access a loan. So long as I've cleared the previous loan, I'm able to access a loan.
SHAHID: Numida is a mobile app, very, very simple user interface. Micro and small business owners can download the Numida app. They'll go through a
loan application process through the app and they can apply for working capital within a few minutes. And then if they're approved, they'll receive
capital within a day.
Super simple, we don't require collateral, we don't have guarantors, we don't need documentation. We have alternative ways of determining each
business owner's credit worthiness and are able to provide them a credit quote within minutes and then you know actual funding within a day that
they can then put into their business to drive growth.
Uganda being a very young tech ecosystem -- some of the core talent that, you know, we need in order to build this company, it's been hard for us to
find. And we spent actually three years building our credit models and our operational tools before we really went into scale-up modes. We've
dispersed roughly $40 million in unsecured working capital loans to 47,000 businesses in Uganda to date.
We have proven that there is alternative ways to underwrite semi-formal, micro and small businesses and every time we give a loan to somebody and
they come back to us and they tell us you know I used this loan and I bought this inventory and I was able to make this additional revenue and my
business was at this point a year ago and now it's here. You know, that's the most validating thing for me.
ASHER: All right, that does it for this hour of ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher.
GOLODRYGA: And I'm Bianna Goldryga. I'll be back at the top of the hour with "AMANPOUR". "MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST" is next.
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