Press Releases

IFC and Central Bank of Oman Organize Workshop on International Best Practices in SME Banking

In Cairo:
Gregory Rung
Raiomand Billimoria
Manar Korayem
Phone: 0020 2 461 9150
Email: / /

Communications Team        
Egidio Germanetti & Riham Mustafa
Phone: 0020 2 461 9150 Ext 314/306
Email: /

Muscat, November 20, 2006—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, collaborated today with the Central Bank of Oman in the first of two workshops aimed at sharing international best practices in small and medium enterprise banking with Omani bankers. The workshop targeted senior managers of commercial banks, economists, and government officials directly involved in the economic development of small and medium enterprises. IFC’s goal is to demonstrate to financial institutions and other stakeholders the benefits of investing in the SME segment.

For each of the workshops, IFC’s technical assistance facility for the Middle East and North Africa, PEP-MENA, will sponsor guest speakers from prominent international financial institutions with a successful track record in the field of SME banking. Speakers will share their experience in their respective markets. The topics for the first workshop were “How to Make SME Banking Profitable” and “Best Practice in SME Lending – The U.S. Experience.”

The government of the Sultanate of Oman has stressed the importance of small and medium enterprises in the country’s economic development. These enterprises are a major driving force of the country’s economic growth, employment of capital, and creation of job opportunities. Hence it is essential to create strong financial service providers that can profitably cater to them.

Azmat Taufique, IFC’s Senior Regional Manager commented, “The objective of the workshops is to disseminate international best practice in SME banking. It is also a way to provide a public good from our investment work in the region and to help develop SMEs by making international best practice available to banks, other financial institutions and all concerned parties in the Sultanate of Oman”.

About IFC

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services. For more information, visit


PEP-MENA is IFC’s technical assistance facility that supports private sector development in the Middle East and North Africa. PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling and regulatory environments; strengthening the financial sector; promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises and their support services, such as business organizations and consulting firms; helping restructure and privatize state-owned enterprises; and developing viable private sector and public-private partnership projects, especially in infrastructure.