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IFC, Societe Generale de Banque au Liban Help Boost Trade in Lebanon with New Agreement

In Washington D.C.:
John Philip McNally
Phone: +1- (202) 458-0723

In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +(202) 2461- 4230

Beirut, Lebanon, May 29, 2016—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today signed a trade finance agreement with Societe Generale de Banque au Liban (SGBL), a leading bank in Lebanon, to boost cross-border trade and help local businesses access international markets.

Under the agreement, SGBL will join IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP), which supports banks as they deliver trade finance in challenging markets. IFC guarantees will help SGBL clients import critical commodities to the local market, including raw materials, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers and spare parts. The GTFP offers global and regional banks guarantees covering payment risk against letters of credit and other trade-related transactions.

The facility from IFC will support our growth strategy and help us provide a diversified range of banking services to our trading clients, to help boost regional trade and strengthen the economy,” said Georges Saghbini, Deputy General Manager at SGBL.

Commenting on the agreement, SGBL’s Chairman and CEO Antoun Sehnaoui, stated: “We believe the IFC agreement is a win-win on multiple levels. It supports small and medium-sized enterprises, hence boosting the private sector and the national economy, while promoting Lebanese entrepreneurship abroad.”

Lebanon continues to be impacted by the events in neighboring countries, with the number of refugees it hosts currently estimated at a million and half refugees. The challenging domestic and regional situation constrains investment, consumption, as well as weakened trade.

“In such challenging times, trade finance can play a key role in facilitating cross-border trade and boosting economic growth in Lebanon, helping small businesses grow and expand their businesses by accessing global markets,” said Thomas Jacobs, IFC Principal Country Officer in Lebanon. “

Since the inception of the GTFP, IFC has committed $6.6 billion to boosting cross border trade across the Middle East and North Africa, $2.7 billion of which was dedicated to Lebanon.  

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence, to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

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About SGBL
A reference player
SGBL group relies on the international network of Societe Generale which operates in 76 countries worldwide. It offers a complete and personalized range of banking services covering universal as well as specialized financial services catered to all client categories. The Group has 4 core business lines:
       Retail Banking
       Corporate Banking
       Private Banking
       Investment Banking