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."
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.
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.