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.
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
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’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.
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.