Istanbul, Turkey, May 26, 2011—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, announced today in Istanbul that it is
stepping up its Global Trade Finance Program in the Middle East and North
Africa region to support trade flows between emerging markets and stimulate
job creation at a time of important change.
As of April 30, 2011, IFC had provided
1,070 trade finance guarantees on behalf of issuing banks to help businesses
in the Middle East and North Africa region trade internationally. The $662.3
million value of these finance guarantees surpasses the $541 million in
guarantees issued by IFC in all of fiscal year 2010.
“We hear the region’s citizens demanding
greater opportunities and a brighter future, and we are helping answer
these calls by supporting trade that allows businesses to prosper,” said
IFC Executive Vice President and CEO Lars Thunell, speaking at a conference
of IFC’s bank partners from around the world. “Increasing trade flows
not only allows products produced in the Middle East and North Africa to
reach international markets, but also allows firms in the region to import
the equipment, raw materials and other inputs they need to grow and create
In response to recent events in the
Middle East and North Africa, IFC is rolling out a robust campaign to ensure
a flourishing private sector in the region. Included in this crisis response
is a commitment to scale up access to finance—into which the Global Trade
Finance Program fits—as well as a fund to promote regional integration
investments, a financing facility to address the region’s infrastructure
gap, and an education for employment initiative to tailor learning opportunities
to the region’s job market needs.
For example, at the close of fiscal
2011’s third quarter, IFC had provided trade finance guarantees worth
$9.8 million in West Bank and Gaza. Bank of Palestine’s use of IFC’s
trade finance guarantees has doubled in one year to more than $8.2 million.
“Doing business from West Bank and
Gaza can present local firms with some unique challenges, but through our
membership in IFC's Global Trade Finance Program we are able to support
our business clients to overcome those challenges, grow their companies,
and tap in to markets around the globe," said Hashim Shawa, Bank of
Palestine Chairman and General Manager, who attended the conference.
IFC uses its Global Trade Finance Program
to help foreign firms and financial institutions feel more confident doing
business with Middle East and North Africa region companies by providing
partial or full guarantees against underlying trade instruments. The program
covers the payment risk of participating issuing banks. Overall, IFC has
issued more than $10 billion in guarantees since the program’s start in
2005. Through the program, IFC provides coverage for over 200 issuing banks
in more than 84 emerging markets, and has a network of more than 400 participating
banks around the world.
“IFC believes that trade and short-term
finance has great development impact and we want to do all we can to help
further integrate developing countries into the global economy, especially
the poorest countries and those affected by conflict,” said Lars Thunell.
“Our network of banks and relationships are a critical part of this strategy.”
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector
in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty
and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses
employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital
from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable
development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments
climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit