Creating Opportunity Where It's Needed Most
A A A share

Europe, Middle East & North Africa

Access to Finance


Our Work

Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) form the backbone of most economies in the Middle East and North Africa. While there are up to 20 million of these businesses in the region, many cannot access the financing they need to expand and create jobs. 

IFC’s Access to Finance program helps change that, providing small businesses and poor households with new economic opportunities, affordable options to save, and insurance against risk, allowing people to improve their lives.


We accomplish this by:

  • Helping banks reach out to greater numbers of smaller businesses. We do this by providing advisory services in areas such as SME banking, risk management, sustainable energy finance, and Islamic finance.

  • Working with microfinance institutions to build their capacity in business strategy, risk management, corporate governance, and product development.

  • Supporting the creation of sound financial infrastructure, such as credit bureaus and secured lending systems, to stimulate lending by financial institutions to MSMEs.

The Access to Finance program has the following focus areas in fiscal year 2013:

  • MSME Finance: IFC continues to focus on increasing access to finance for MSMEs in MENA. We worked with Habib Bank in Pakistan, as well as Saudi-Hollandi Bank and Al-Rajhi Bank in Saudi Arabia, to grow their SME financing business. In Tunisia IFC helped ENDA Inter-Arabe strengthen its operations at a time of heightened risk, in order to improve services to underserved MSMEs. We are also working with Al-Kuraimi Islamic Microfinance Bank in Yemen, to build its institutional capacity, diversify products, and ultimately scale up outreach to MSMEs in a sustainable manner.


  • Women in Banking: Women’s economic participation in MENA is lower than the average for developing countries, so IFC works with banks to develop financial products for female entrepreneurs, empowering women and demonstrating the business opportunity for banks in the region. In Lebanon, IFC worked with BLC Bank to support the bank in targeting SMEs with a special focus on entrepreneurial women. In Oman, IFC and Bank Muscat partnered to assess potential growth opportunities through focusing on women in business. In Palestine, IFC will help Bank of Palestine strengthen its offering to SMEs by focusing on increasing women's access to financial services.


  • Sustainable Energy Finance: IFC works with financial institutions to improve access to finance for companies that want to make sustainable energy investments; this helps improve their competitiveness and tackle climate change issues in the MENA region. In Lebanon, IFC worked with Banque Libano-Française to develop a suite of new loan products for corporations, schools, and home owners, tailored to clients that want to invest in energy-efficient projects. In Jordan, IFC helped Tamweelcom develop a new lending program to finance solar water heaters, along with a communications campaign to build market awareness of the benefits of renewable energy.


Stay Connected