Press Releases

A New Collaboration at IFC to Enhance Access to Financial Services for Small Businesses

In Washington, D.C.:
Sona Panajyan
Phone: + 1 202 473 9751

In Paris:
Zibu Sibanda
Phone: +33 140 0693182

Paris, France, April 19, 2012—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today launched the SME Finance Forum, a G-20 initiative designed to improve access to financial resources for small and medium enterprises and catalyze effective SME-financing tools. The forum was announced during a joint special event by G-20 and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The forum is a knowledge-sharing platform for data, research, and experiences for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Access to finance remains one of the most significant challenges for the survival and advancement of small enterprises, which are important drivers of economic growth in developing countries. The forum will promote tools and approaches tailored to policy makers and funders of the SME industry to share knowledge and build networks to improve good practices.

“Governments, the private sector, and donors all have a role to play in helping SMEs gain critical access to finance at every stage of growth. The SME Finance Forum will help foster dialogue about what works,” said H.R.H. Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development and Honorary Patron of G-20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, who delivered the keynote address at the event.

The forum’s website offers enhanced access to information through dissemination of publications, analytical tools, and standardized benchmarks for SME finance. It is a highly interactive platform, allowing for collaboration and sharing of best practices through online discussions. The website is intended for use by a broad range of stakeholders, including financial institutions, development finance institutions, policy makers, central banks, regulators, think tanks, and other relevant private sector entities.

Matthew Gamser, IFC’s Head of the SME Finance Forum, said, “The forum’s success will depend upon the active participation of all the stakeholders for whom it was created.”

As an integral contributor to the G-20’s financial-inclusion agenda, IFC manages the SME Finance Forum. The United Kingdoms’ Department for International Development is the first supporting partner to join this new initiative, with pledges of additional support from other G-20 member countries.

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, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit

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