Press Releases

IFC and Riyad Bank Launch New Student Loan Program in Saudi Arabia

In Washington:
Ludi Joseph, IFC
Phone: +1 (202) 473 7700

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia:

Walid Almurshed, IFC

Phone: +966-1-483-4956


Nadeem Khawaja, Riyad Bank

Phone: +966-1-401-3030


Riyadh, Saudi Arabia/Washington, D.C., February 16, 2010—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Saudi Arabia’s Riyad Bank signed agreements today to introduce a new student loan program that will finance the education of university students in Saudi Arabia.

Under this partnership, Riyad Bank will originate, fund, and administer student loans aimed at encouraging students to pursue higher education in select disciplines.

Talal Al-Qudaibi, President & CEO of Riyad Bank, said, “Higher education in Saudi Arabia is expanding at an impressive rate with increased involvement from the private sector and new fee-based institutions entering the market. Riyad Bank is pleased to participate in this initiative to support access by students to quality education especially in priority disciplines such as medicine, engineering, business administration, accounting, and finance.“

Guy Ellena, IFC Director for Health and Education, said, “The project will provide a stable source of funding for private universities in Saudi Arabia and help guide students toward strategic fields of study and careers that have the most employment potential for the Saudi economy.”

Michael Essex, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “By demonstrating that student lending is commercially viable, we hope this project will encourage other financial institutions to enter the education sector. It will also create linkages between local financial institutions and universities.”  

IFC has committed similar student loan programs in the region.

IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by enhancing education in the Middle East and North Africa.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $15 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit

About Riyad Bank

Riyad Bank, one of the largest banks in Saudi Arabia, is a full service commercial bank. It has joint venture leasing and insurance subsidiaries, fully owned investment and real estate subsidiaries, a branch in London, a representative office in Singapore, and an agency in Houston. It is publicly listed on Tadawul, the Saudi stock exchange. For more information, visit