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IFC, BBAC Finance Trade to Spur Economic Growth in Lebanon


In Beirut:                    
Annie Parseghian
Phone: + 961 1 987 800
E-mail: AParseghian@ifc.org

In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +20 2 2461 4230
E-mail:
RMustafa@ifc.org

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.

About IFC
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.

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About BBAC
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