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IFC Trade Assistance to World’s Poorest Countries Grows to $2.4 Billion in Award-Winning Year

In Washington, D.C.:
John McNally

Phone: (202) 458-0723


Washington, D.C., August 12, 2011—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced that its Global Trade Finance Program reached new heights in fiscal year 2011 in its support of trade flows in emerging markets, with more than half the total volume of $4.6 billion supporting trade in the world’s poorest countries.

As of June 30, 2011, IFC had provided 3,106 trade finance guarantees on behalf of issuing banks to help businesses in the developing world through its Global Trade Finance Program GTFP.  The total $4.6 billion of guarantees issued was an increase of $1.2 billion over fiscal year 2010. Most significantly, nearly 80 percent of the support went to small and medium enterprises.  IFC's support for trade in the poorest countries, worth $2.4 billion, represents a growth of 40 percent from the same period in the previous year.

“Our guarantees have allowed banks to increase their support to small and midsize firms and enabled trade that otherwise would not have happened, especially in the poorest countries,” said Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO.  “Many of these firms have grown as a result of this support, increasing their value to the local community and creating much needed jobs.”

IFC’s leadership role in facilitating global trade was recognized by Trade Finance Magazine whose readers voted IFC the “Best Overall Development Finance Institution (DFI) and Best DFI in Africa.  At a recent awards ceremony in London, Trade Finance Magazine recognized IFC for the awards which honor institutions that have “truly gone that extra distance required to meet the needs of their clients, be they corporates, governments, or financial institutions.”

Baafuor Ohene Abankwa, Relationship Manager at Ghana’s Trust Bank Limited, said, “It was only after IFC guaranteed the letter of credit for our client Pelfaco that it was able to import the electrical-efficiency equipment needed to power Accra’s growth.”

Sub-Saharan Africa is a strategic focus for IFC.  In FY11, the volume of guarantees in the region has grown to $931 million in 25 countries, 24 of which are IDA countries, those classified as part of the International Development Association, the World Bank Group’s largest source of assistance for the world’s 79 poorest countries.  IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program has expanded into new markets such as the Central African Republic and seen its first transactions in Rwanda.

Latin America continued to be the most dominant region, with $1.4 billion during the fiscal year, representing 31 percent of total dollar volume.  The program was extended to Colombia and Guyana, and tripled its energy-efficiency transactions to $360 million.

The Middle East and North Africa saw impressive growth, with more than 40 percent of global guarantees and commitments totaling more than $700 million.  This growth is in line with IFC’s strategy to help the region emerge stronger from its current turmoil.  Support for West Bank and Gaza saw a 70 percent increase from the previous year and financed critical imports like medical equipment.

The program continued to grow in Central and Southern Europe, adding new countries like the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and making significant transactions in the Republic of Georgia.  In Asia, Bangladesh and Nepal saw strong growth, with commitments increasing around 50 percent in each.

Since its inception in 2005, IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program has issued more than 9,600 guarantees to support trade-finance transactions in emerging markets with a median value of $273,934 without a single loss.  In FY2011, the program passed its milestone $10 billion mark, with a South-South shipment of steel from Malaysia to Vietnam.  South-South shipments now represent 43 percent of transactions supported by the program.  New products like Warehouse Finance complement IFC’s efforts to address critical issues such as food security.

About IFC

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

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