Amman, January 18, 2005 –The International
Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, held a seminar
for senior Iraqi bankers in Amman, Jordan, this month through its Private
Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa, PEP-MENA.
The objective of the seminar was to discuss the development of the Iraqi
banking sector. Topics included the challenges facing the banking sector
in post-crisis countries and lessons learned from other countries. In addition,
small and medium enterprise banking models were presented as a topic of
importance to the Iraqi economic development, as well as best practices
in bank governance.
The participants were primarily board members, general managers, and deputies
from the private sector and the specialized state-owned banks. The Ministry
of Finance was also represented. The seminar concluded with a roundtable
discussion, which gave the participants an opportunity to share their views
Mr. Jesper Kjaer, General Manager of PEP-MENA, said, “The aim of this
event was to highlight the challenges facing the Iraqi banking sector.
Through constructive dialogue, it also allowed us to understand better
the Iraqi needs for technical assistance in this sector so that we can
further develop appropriate programs.”
The two-day seminar, held January 10-11, came as the conclusion to a five-month
training program launched by PEP-MENA in September 2004, in which 250 Iraqi
bankers were trained on various banking disciplines: credit risk management,
asset liability management, foreign exchange risk, strategic planning,
marketing and retail financial products, international accounting standards,
and credit appraisal and financial analysis.
PEP-MENA is a $100 million multidonor technical assistance facility managed
and cofunded by IFC to support private sector development in the region,
stretching from Morocco in the west to Pakistan in the east.
IFC’s mission is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing
countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances
private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in
the international financial markets, and provides technical assistance
and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through
FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged
$23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries.
IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its
own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.