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IFC and Central Bank of Oman Organize Workshop on International Best Practices for Small and Medium Enterprise Banking


In Cairo:
Gregory Rung
Raiomand Billimoria
Manar Korayem
Phone: 0020 2 461 9150
Email: Grung@ifc.org / Rbillimoria@ifc.org / Mkorayem@ifc.org

Communications Team        
Egidio Germanetti & Riham Mustafa
Phone: 0020 2 461 9150 Ext 314/306
Email: egermanetti@ifc.org / rmustafa@ifc.org


Muscat, December 06, 2006—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and the Central Bank of Oman organized today the second of two workshops aimed at sharing international best practice in small and medium enterprise banking. The workshop targeted senior managers of Oman’s commercial banks, economists, and government officials involved in the economic development of small and medium enterprises.

For each of the workshops, IFC’s technical assistance facility for the Middle East and North Africa, PEP-MENA, has arranged guest speakers from international financial institutions with a successful track record in the field of small and medium enterprise banking. The goal has been to demonstrate the benefits of investing in this segment to financial institutions and other stakeholders.

The government of the Sultanate of Oman has stressed the importance of small and medium enterprises for the country’s economic development. The segment represents a major driving force of the country’s economic growth, employment of capital, and creation of job opportunities. Hence it is essential to create a network of strong financial service providers that can profitably cater to these institutions.

Azmat Taufique, IFC’s Senior Regional Manager commented,
"IFC is committed to increasing access to finance for local small and medium enterprises, while continuously supporting and strengthening local financial institutions.  This series of workshops will highlight global successes in small and medium enterprise banking, providing a roadmap for Oman‘s financial institutions."

About IFC
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About PEP-MENA
IFC’s PEP-MENA is a multidonor facility for technical assistance that supports private sector development across the Middle East and North Africa region. The facility was launched in October 2004 as part of the G8 Broader Middle East initiative. PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling environment, strengthening financial markets, supporting SME development, and promoting privatizations and public-private partnerships. From its inception through FY06, PEP-MENA has committed more than $20 million in technical assistance and advisory services projects. Its activities are funded jointly by IFC and the following donors: Canada, France, the Islamic Development Bank, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.