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IFC and Arab Monetary Fund Support Development of Private Credit Bureaus in the Middle East and North Africa


In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa

Phone: + (202)24619140

E-mail:
rmustafa@ifc.org

In Washington, D.C.:

Lotte Pang

Phone: +1 202 458 0952

E-mail:
lpang@ifc.org


Washington D.C., April 12, 2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today signed a memorandum of understanding with the Arab Monetary Fund to help create a vibrant and effective credit bureau industry in the Middle East and North Africa. The event took place during the 2008 World Bank Group and IMF Spring Meetings.

IFC and the Arab Monetary Fund will consolidate efforts to harmonize the region’s credit reporting systems and implement international best practices. Over the next three years, the two organizations will assess credit information infrastructures in the region’s Arab countries to address gaps and challenges facing most of these countries. They will also work to raise awareness of credit reporting and its benefits to local economies. These efforts will help identify strategies and action plans to establish business enabling and regulatory environments for private credit bureaus.


By developing private credit bureaus, this initiative will help increase knowledge sharing on credit reporting between countries; increase the efficiency of financial intermediaries; support the growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises; mitigate lending risks; and help central banks supervise financial sectors.


Dr. Jassim Al-Mannai, Director General and Chairman of the Arab Monetary Fund’s Board, said, “Capacity building and sound policies are crucial in establishing economic and financial reforms. We are delighted to cooperate with IFC in this initiative. We are convinced that the assistance to Arab countries will help them comply with Basel II requirements and enhance the central banks’ supervisory powers.”
 
Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO, said, “Credit bureaus are a crucial building block that enables greater access to finance for individuals and small businesses. We look forward to working with the Arab Monetary Fund to establish a credit information infrastructure model that is easy to market.”


IFC’s regional credit bureau program, launched in 2005, is managed by IFC Advisory Services in the Middle East and North Africa - PEP-MENA. IFC’s activities include help in developing a legal and regulatory framework and advisory services for starting and expanding credit bureaus, with a focus on strategy, technical partner selection, and outreach and awareness events.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.


About the Arab Monetary Fund

The Arab Monetary Fund, a regional Arab organization, was founded in 1976 and started operations in 1977. The fund has 22 member countries and promotes the development of financial markets in Arab countries, while establishing policies and methods for Arab monetary cooperation. This is done by providing short- and medium-term credit facilities to member states to help finance their overall balance-of-payments deficits. The fund also provides technical assistance to banking and monetary institutions in member states, conducts research, and disseminates knowledge on related topics. For more information, visit
www.amf.org.ae.

In Abu Dhabi:
Yisr Barnieh
Phone: + (971) 50 5811780
E-mail: amfadvisor-office@amfad.org.ae