Beirut, Lebanon, December 4, 2012—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today signed a trade finance agreement
with Bank of Beirut and the Arab Countries (BBAC) to help Lebanon’s private
sector access global import and export markets and spur trade.
Through this agreement, IFC and BBAC
will help clients access new markets and expand their existing trade channels.
The initiative is part of IFC’s $5 billion Global Trade Finance Program,
which extends and complements the capacity of banks to deliver trade financing.
The program provides risk mitigation in new or challenging markets where
trade lines are constrained. The program offers confirming banks partial
or full guarantees covering payment risk for trade-related transactions
in emerging markets.
“No doubt this agreement with IFC will
reinforce confidence between our bank and foreign financial institutions,
and will help us access markets that were previously beyond our reach,
especially in the emerging economies where this facility is most needed,”
said Ghassan Assaf, Chairman and General Manager of BBAC. “The IFC facility
will therefore be a catalyst in promoting business in new markets, creating
new business opportunities and generating growth for the economy,”
BBAC is the sixth bank in Lebanon to
join IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program. Since the program’s inception
in Lebanon in 2006, IFC has provided trade finance guarantees worth almost
$1 billion to improve the country’s trade performance.
"Trade is a key driver of global
integration and domestic growth,” said James Gohary, IFC Regional Manager
of Financial Markets and Private Equity Funds in the Middle East and North
Africa. “For a vibrant private sector, the Middle East and North Africa
region needs to be connected to global markets. This agreement will help
Lebanese companies enter new markets, opening opportunities for business
growth and spurring job creation.”
IFC strategy in Lebanon focuses on supporting
the continued recovery of the country’s private sector. IFC investment
and advisory activities in Lebanon focus on trade financing, facilitating
access to finance to small businesses, and women empowerment.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the
private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth
by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial
markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments.
In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion,
leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation,
and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.
BBAC was established in 1956 and is
today one of the leading commercial banks in Lebanon with a total capital
of 157 billion Lebanese pounds. The bank provides a full range of banking
and financial solutions to individuals and corporations that include corporate
and commercial banking, trade finance, retail banking, private banking,
treasury and capital markets, and bancassurance. BBAC operates through
its wide-spread network of 35 branches in Lebanon in addition
to one branch in Limassol, Cyprus, two branches in Iraq (Erbil and Baghdad),
and one representative office in Abu Dhabi, UAE. For more information,
you can visit www.bbacbank.com