Press Releases

IFC, Development Finance Institutions Increase Access to Finance for Smaller Businesses

Washington, D.C.:
Leila F. Search
Phone:  (202) 473-7511

Paris, France:
Oliver Griffith
Phone:  +33 1 4069 3195

Washington D.C., March 15, 2011—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the French Agency for Development are hosting senior-level policymakers in Paris today to promote sustainable economic development and identify finance solutions for small businesses that contribute significantly to employment, poverty reduction, and economic growth.

The SME Finance DFI meeting brings together policymakers from the world’s international development community and presents a platform for development finance institutions to share their successful small and medium size enterprise finance models and recommend a set of implementable actions in support of the G-20 initiative to scale up access to finance for small and medium businesses in the developing world.

Small and medium businesses are engines of job creation and economic growth in developing countries. They account for about 90 percent of businesses and more than 50 percent of employment worldwide, yet their access to financial services remains constrained in many emerging markets. Creating opportunities for these businesses is important to advance development and reduce poverty.  

“Increasing access to financial services for small and medium businesses is a strategic priority for IFC.  However it requires significant effort from public, private, and social sector actors. The meeting is essential in advancing this agenda,” said James Scriven, IFC Director for Global Financial Markets.

Last year, the G-20 committed to improve access to financial services, and significant progress has been made under the G-20 Financial Inclusion Experts Group and the IFC-supported SME Finance Sub-Group, including recommendations presented to the G-20 and the establishment of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion that elevated financial inclusion to a permanent priority within the G-20.

The meeting will serve as a forum for knowledge exchange and coordination on small business finance, will present the progress made by the G-20 SME Finance Sub-Group over the past year, and discuss implementation of recommendations.

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

About AFD
Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is a public development finance institution that has worked to fight poverty and support economic growth in developing countries and the French Overseas Communities for almost 70 years. AFD executes the French government’s development aid policies.  Through offices in more than fifty countries and nine French Overseas Communities, AFD provides financing and support for projects that improve people’s living conditions and promote economic growth. In 2009, AFD committed more than €6.2 billion to financing aid activities in developing and emerging countries and the French Overseas Communities.