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IFC, Switzerland’s SECO Train Bankers to Support Trade Finance in Africa


In Johannesburg:
Jason Hopps

Phone: +27(0)11 731 3179

Email:
jhopps@ifc.org


Accra, Ghana, December 3, 2010–IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) are providing training in trade finance to bankers from seven countries in West and East Africa to help banks improve their trade finance operations, reduce risks and better serve small and medium businesses in the region.

This training is part of IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program, established in 2005 to promote trade flows between emerging markets, increase developing countries’ share of global trade, and support flow of goods and services between these countries.


Twenty-five bankers from 10 banks in seven countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, and Senegal – participated in a five-day training session in Accra from November 29 to December 3. To close the training, a session was held between one of the banks and their small business clients. The week-long training was the seventh held in Accra by IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program.


Georgina Baker, IFC Director Short Term Finance, said, “Through its Global Trade Finance Program, IFC is supporting increased trade in Africa. Providing training is an important part of the program’s efforts to help banks in emerging markets provide trade finance to importers and exporters, particularly small and medium enterprises.”


The Head of SECO’s Cooperation at the Swiss Embassy in Ghana, Martin Saladin, said, “Switzerland is keen to strengthen the financial sector in order to promote access to finance for the private sector. Training is knowledge and therefore key for practitioners.”


IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program offers confirming banks partial or full guarantees on payment obligations in the emerging markets for trade-related transactions. IFC’s trade advisory program is an integral component of this larger program and is designed to help local banks build their trade finance capacity.


The advisory program provides banks and other financial institutions with training and support to upgrade their skills in structuring basic and complex trade finance transactions, improve their techniques for mitigating trade finance risk, upgrade the operational and technical skills of their trade finance back offices, and transfer current international best practices in trade finance to local markets.

In Africa, more than 1000 bankers from 26 countries have benefited from 60 IFC trade finance training courses since 2006.


About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About SECO
The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is the centre of expertise for planning and implementing Switzerland’s economic and trade-policy measures in developing and transition countries world-wide. SECO's main aims are to integrate partner countries into the global economy and to promote the sustainable economic growth of these countries, thus contributing to poverty reduction.


Ghana is an important focus of Switzerland’s development assistance. Switzerland’s development coopration with Ghana is concentrated in four main areas: macroeconomic policies and transparency in public finances; financial sector development and strengthening; trade, competition and investment climate; and basic infrastructure regulation and public utilities improvement in the energy sector, for more information visit:
http://www.seco.admin.ch or www.eda.admin.ch/accra.