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IFC Loan Supports Small-Scale Entrepreneurs in Lebanon, Boosting Economic Growth


In Beirut:
Thomas Jacobs
Phone: + 961 70 6477
E-mail: TJacobs@ifc.org

In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +20 2 2461 4230
E-mail:
RMustafa@ifc.org


Beirut, Lebanon, November 13, 2012 −IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is loaning $2 million to a leading Lebanese microfinance institution to help the company expand its lending to smaller businesses, supporting economic growth across the country.

IFC’s new investment will help Ameen s.a.l. provide loans to micro, small, and medium businesses, giving them access to the financing they need to grow and create jobs. Ameen s.a.l. aims to double its loan portfolio to $34 million by 2016.

“Entrepreneurs, especially women, lack access to financial services and loans,” said Ziad Halaby, General Manager of  Ameen s.a.l. “IFC’s investment will help us increase our coverage and provide financial services to a larger number of micro and small businesses throughout the country.”
 
The microfinance market in Lebanon is the smallest in the Middle East & North Africa region, and two-thirds of smaller businesses don’t have access to enough credit. The total funding shortfall is estimated at over $200 million.

“Supporting micro and small businesses is the key to boosting economic growth in Lebanon,” said Thomas Jacobs, IFC Country Officer in Lebanon. “These enterprises have tremendous potential to grow and create jobs, and we hope this investment will encourage other financial institutions to support the microfinance industry.”


Ameen s.a.l. was the first microfinance institution to receive a financial institution license in Lebanon. It is currently ranked among the largest players in the Lebanese microfinance market and is regulated by the Central Bank of Lebanon. This deal is part of IFC’s efforts in Lebanon to extend financial services to smaller enterprises, support women entrepreneurs, promote trade finance, and aid reforms to the country’s investment climate.

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, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About AMEEN:
Starting in 1999 as a program under the umbrella of Global Communities formerly known as CHF International, Ameen spun off into a service company in 2003, becoming Ameen s.a.l., a Lebanese joint-stock company. In 2007, the company transformed to become the first regulated microfinance institution registered with the Central Bank of Lebanon under Registry no.49. Ameen s.a.l is one of the largest microfinance providers in Lebanon. Since establishment, it has disbursed over 115,000 loans, amounting more than $176 million in aggregate. Ameen will soon be doing business as “Vitas Lebanon”. For more information, please visit www.ameen.com.lb / www.vitaslebanon.com

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