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.
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.
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