WASHINGTON, D.C., December 7, 1999 —
In Lebanon, where there is still a big need for new housing following years
of civil war, the International Finance Corporation is investing US$35
million to allow Byblos Bank to provide more mortgages as well as long-term
financing for smaller businesses.
The investment, in the form of a credit line to Byblos Bank, will allow
one of Lebanon's leading banks to support housing, where there is a serious
shortage of financing. Byblos was the first, and remains one of the few,
banks in Lebanon to offer 15-year mortgages for housing. IFC has mobilized
an additional $34 million for the account of participant banks.
Byblos, a long-time IFC client, has had two previous IFC credit lines which
provided on-lending to about 90 small and medium enterprises, ranging from
tourism to industry and textiles, agribusiness and health. Close to 2,000
jobs were created.
Mohsen Khalil, IFC Director of the Central Asia, Middle East and North
Africa Region, said that credit lines have proven to be an effective way
to generate financing for borrowers — such as prospective homeowners and
small business owners — that have been poorly served. He expressed hope
that the investment would help small and medium-size businesses to modernize
or expand operations, and help solve the acute housing problem through
long-term finance at affordable rates.
Reconstruction will continue to drive IFC activity in Lebanon. IFC has
investments in the financial sector, infrastructure, housing, and tourism.
IFC is also looking at investing in social services such as health, education,
and the environment.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private
sector investment in developing countries, which will 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.