Press Releases

IFC Commits $1 Billion to Promote Cross Border Trade over Past Year in the Middle East and North Africa

In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +20 2 2461 4230

Cairo, Egypt, September 1, 2013—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is promoting trade in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to help the economic integration of the region. In the past fiscal year, which ended on June 30, the IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP) committed more than $1 billion to guarantee cross border deals in the region, doubling the commitment since 2010.

The GTFP makes it easier for local banks to provide trade finance by mitigating risks in markets where trade may be hampered. The program offers global and regional banks guarantees covering payment risk and letters of credit for trade related transactions, so that businesses can feel confident in long distance transactions of vital goods such as medical and agricultural equipment, foodstuffs, energy goods, and raw materials.

“Our GTFP partnership with IFC has helped us manage the growing needs of our clients in Lebanon and abroad,” said Salim G. Sfeir, Chairman of the board and CEO at Bank of Beirut. “Being a bank with a strong focus on trade, we consider this support to be crucial to integrate the region and build foundations for a sustainable future.”

Lebanon leads the way in the region, benefitting from a $496 million trade commitment in the past year, a 34 percent increase on the previous fiscal year. Banks in Pakistan, Egypt, and Jordan make up the bulk of the rest of IFC's trade commitments in MENA.

“The Middle East and North Africa region can benefit from increased trade activities, to support economic integration and link it to global economies, this in turn will boost economic growth,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Over one thousand guarantees to banks in MENA in the past year ensured that the region remains the best represented in the global program, and new banks are joining all the time. Since the inception of the program in 2006, IFC has provided almost $4 billion in trade guarantees across MENA.

About IFC
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 more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit