Press Releases

IFC Helps Strengthen Commercial Microfinance in Pakistan

In Islamabad
Ayesha Muzaffar
Phone: + (92) 51 909-0657

In Dubai
Momina Aijazuddin
Phone: + (97) 14 360-1016

In Cairo
Egidio Germanetti  
Phone: + (20) 2 461-9150 Ext. 314

Riham Mustafa
Phone: + (20) 2 461-9150 Ext. 306

Karachi, March 13, 2007—IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, recently signed an advisory services agreement with Tameer Microfinance Bank to help the institution expand its outreach and provide greater access to finance in Pakistan.  IFC also disbursed a $3.7 million long-term loan to the bank in December 2006 to support its rapid growth in lending. The project will be managed by IFC’s advisory services facility for the region, the Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa.

Advisory services are part of a broader IFC program to help Tameer Bank launch innovative microfinance solutions and find commercially viable ways to reach its growing client base. The project will assess the demand for branchless banking in Pakistan and related technology development, develop new products for rural areas, and provide training to its growing middle management.

Michael Essex, IFC’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa, commented, “We are pleased to support Tameer’s efforts to ramp up its services to microentrepreneurs in Pakistan. IFC’s support is designed to help Tameer achieve outreach and scale, as well as meet the large demand gap, estimated to be at least 7 million households, for finance from small-scale entrepreneurs.”

Nadeem Hussain, President and CEO of Tameer Microfinance Bank, said, “We value our ongoing collaboration with IFC a provider of equity, debt, and advisory services. We would like to underscore that a commercial approach to microfinance is critical to maximizing outreach and effectively supporting the entrepreneurial activities of Pakistan’s underserved population. We look forward to a long-term and broad based partnership with IFC.”

About Tameer Microfinance Bank
Tameer is a private sector-led microfinance bank whose vision is to emerge as a global benchmark for commercial microfinance. It provides basic financial services and flexible loan products—including deposits, local remittances, and life insurance—to low-income entrepreneurs and salaried individuals, many of whom are women with little to no access to finance through mainstream commercial banks. Tameer’s services, which include individual lending and savings products, are designed to help its clients improve their incomes and businesses and move out of poverty. As of February 2007, the bank had some 28,000 active clients and had disbursed over $15 million to low-income entrepreneurs in Pakistan.

About IFC
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.  IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit

IFC PEP-MENA is a multidonor facility for advisory services that supports private sector development across the Middle East and North Africa. IFC PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling environment, strengthening financial markets, supporting SME development, and promoting privatization and public-private partnerships. From its inception through FY06, IFC PEP-MENA has committed more than $20 million in advisory 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.