Press Releases

IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program Announces First Participant Bank in Yemen

In Sana’a
Saad Sabrah
Phone: +967 (1) 413-259

In Cairo
Souleymane Traore
Phone: +20 (2) 2461-9150

Egidio Germanetti
Phone: +20 (2) 2461-9150 ext. 314

Sana’a, April 1, 2007 - IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, announced today that Saba Islamic Bank has become the first bank in Yemen and the first Islamic bank to join IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program as an issuing bank.

The Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP) promotes trade with emerging markets worldwide by supporting the flow of goods and services to and from developing countries.  Through GTFP, IFC provides coverage of bank risk in emerging markets, allowing recipients to expand their trade finance transactions within an extensive network of countries and banks and to enhance their trade finance coverage.

Jyrki Koskelo, Director of IFC’s Global Financial Markets Department, said, “IFC has increased the trade finance program to $1 billion in order to expand global coverage particularly to frontier countries like Yemen, which is strategically important to IFC.  We are delighted to have Saba Islamic Bank in the program.  More importantly, the transaction is a milestone as it marks the first engagement of IFC in the financial sector in Yemen. ”

Skaik Hameed Alahmer, Saba Islamic Bank’s Chairman said, “We are happy to join the Global Trade Finance Program as the first issuing bank in Yemen.    This shows IFC’s strong support to Saba Islamic Bank.”  

Michael Essex, IFC’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “We are very pleased to welcome Saba Islamic Bank as the first Yemeni issuing bank in the program.  Its participation will expand the bank’s network of correspondent banks, hence, open new markets and increase business opportunities for its corporate and SME clients.”    

About Saba Islamic Bank
Established in 1997, Saba Islamic Bank is the second largest Islamic Bank in Yemen with total assets of $345 million as of year-end 2005.  Its activities include providing financing, investment and banking services in conformity with Sharia law as well as the regulations of the Central Bank of Yemen.  The bank has expanded its geographical coverage with thirteen branches in the cities of Sana’a, Aden, Hodeidah, Taiz, Mukalla, Dhamar, Amran and Say’oun as well as a regional branch in Djibouti, which is the first Yemeni bank in the country.  

About IFC
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.  IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit