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IFC Launches Comprehensive Training Program to Reinvigorate Iraqi Banking Sector


In Washington:
Ahmed Badawi-Malik

Phone: +1 (202) 458-7148

Cell:     +1 (202) 361-9175

Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:
Abadawi@ifc.org

In Cairo:

Ghada Teima

Phone:  + 20 2 579 5912

Fax:       + 20 2 579 6447

Email:
Gteima@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C./CAIRO, September 20, 2004 — The Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East (PEP-ME), a technical assistance program created, funded, and managed by the International Finance Corporation, launched a five-month bank training program yesterday in Amman, Jordan, for managers of - largely private - Iraqi banks.

Some 200 participants are expected to attend the training program, which will run in a series of  five workshops. The program will be held in collaboration with the Arab Academy for Banking and Financial Services, and takes place at the academy’s headquarters.


IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has identified bank training as a key priority for private sector development in Iraq: the financial sector’s access to state-of-the art practices has been highly constrained by years of rigidly statist economic management, successive wars, and international economic sanctions. This comprehensive training program follows on from the successful banking training workshop held in Amman by PEP-ME in June 2004, which centered on international best practices in banking, and also identifying the main training needs of staff of Iraqi banks.


By upgrading the technical and managerial capacity of the financial sector, IFC aims to reinvigorate private sector development and job creation in Iraq through helping banks better fulfill their intermediation role in the economy.


The training program is designed for managers of private and public sector banks. It will focus on risk management, retail banking, accounting and finance, asset liability management, foreign trade, bank performance monitoring, credit appraisal, and financial analysis. The seven modules of the PEP-ME program will be delivered in Arabic. The training program ends in January 2005 with a strategy workshop led by IFC specialists for the banks’ executive management to discuss the banking landscape in Iraq, corporate governance, and best practice case studies from around the world.


Sami Haddad, IFC director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “IFC considers developing a sound financial sector a key step towards private sector development in a post-conflict economy. I am pleased that we can contribute to this objective and help the Iraqi people rapidly rebuild a business enabling environment. ”


Jesper Kjaer, general manager for PEP-ME, added, “ Staff training is a major building block for the banking sector in delivering adequate financial services to corporate and consumer clients, and supporting the expected acceleration of economic growth in Iraq going forward.”


Note to Editors:
For information on the PEP-ME Iraqi bankers’ training program undertaken in June 2004, see:
IFC Lays Foundations for Private Sector Growth in Iraq by Training Local Bankers.

The Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East (PEP-ME), with start-up funding of $10 million from IFC, provides technical assistance to Afghanistan, Iraq, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen. PEP-ME focuses its technical assistance in those countries on improving the business and regulatory environment, strengthening financial institutions and markets, stimulating the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises, and assisting in the restructuring and privatization of state-owned enterprises.


The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.