Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, November
24, 2014—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $67 million
in Bank Alfalah, one of Pakistan’s largest banks, to help expand access
to finance for smaller businesses, spurring economic growth and job creation.
IFC’s equity investment will help the bank grow its operations, increase
lending for SMEs and into the agri-sector, as well as into new areas like
sustainable energy finance.
“We are delighted to have IFC as a shareholder
and partner”, Atif Bajwa, Chief Executive Officer of Bank Alfalah. “We
look forward to developing a long term strategic collaboration which will
strengthen the Bank’s ability to provide a wider range of services and
better access to finance, and create opportunities for economic growth
in the country. This new foreign investment will also contribute significantly
to attracting more investors to Pakistan”.
As part of the partnership, IFC has already
provided Bank Alfalah with a comprehensive advisory package to implement
its SME banking program. SMEs account for about 90 percent of private enterprises
in Pakistan’s formal industrial sectors and employ over 70 percent of
the country’s labor force.
The investment fits with IFC’s strategy
in the Middle East and North Africa to support Gulf companies’ expansion
into emerging markets. IFC support is also expected to help boost investor
confidence in Pakistan’s banking sector.
"A strong financial sector is the backbone of any economy," said
Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC Vice President for Global Client Services. "This
investment will help support Pakistan’s financial sector and demonstrate
its long-term potential. It will also give smaller businesses better access
to capital, allowing them to unlock their potential and create much-needed
The agreement was signed by H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan,
representing the Abu Dhabi Group. IFC and Bank Alfalah, majority owned
by the Abu Dhabi Group, are long-term partners. IFC provides trade finance
guarantees to support the bank’s clients as they access international
markets. IFC is also working on other projects with the Abu Dhabi Group,
one of the largest business conglomerates in the region.
Pakistan is a priority country for IFC. During the last three years, IFC
has ramped up its investments and advisory services work, supporting the
development of Pakistan’s private sector. IFC focused on mobilizing investments
in power and infrastructure, and providing access to finance for micro,
small, and medium enterprises through financial intermediaries.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the
private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries,
we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme
poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22
billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle
the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit