Beirut, Lebanon, January 24, 2012—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, is holding a conference in Beirut for
banks and financial institutions from the Middle East and North Africa
on how to expand banking services to small and medium enterprises to spur
economic growth and development and help create jobs.
The two-day conference provides an opportunity
for local and regional bankers, executives of various financial institutions,
regulators and entrepreneurs to share international best practices and
success stories about targeting small businesses. The discussions will
promote better understanding in the banking sector and will help banks
reduce risks and unlock potential opportunities in this growing market.
“Limited access to finance remains
a barrier to the region’s economic development,” said Dr. Saad Andary,
Vice-Governor, Banque Du Liban, the Central Bank of Lebanon. “We believe
that combining forces with our partners will enhance the region’s performance
in financing small businesses by creating better awareness and understanding
of market needs and demands.”
IFC is partnering with Banque du Liban
and the Development Bank of Austria to help increase access to finance
and other banking services for small businesses, and to encourage banks
in the region to strengthen their small and medium enterprise banking operations.
“Small and medium businesses contribute
greatly to the economic development, diversification and social stability
of the region and play an important role in private sector development,”
said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Together with our partners, IFC is helping small companies to access
banking services, grow their businesses and generate new jobs in their
This project is part of IFC’s Middle
East and North Africa Bank Advisory Services Program to help regional banks
strengthen their small business banking capacities and tap into the sector’s
opportunities in a more effective, profitable and sustainable manner.
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, providing advisory services to businesses and
governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets.
In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our
clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute
to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time
high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org