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Zeina Khoury Daoud started selling artisanal olive oil in Lebanon at age 22. Eager to make her mark as an entrepreneur, she later launched a produce delivery service and opened a franchise of organic grocery stores.

With each venture, she faced the biggest obstacle confronting small and medium enterprises: access to finance. But BLC Bank, an IFC client known for backing Lebanon’s SMEs, stood by Khoury Daoud’s ideas, providing loans and advice at every step. Her businesses have grown and she continues to hire more employees.

Access to finance turns ideas into opportunities for entrepreneurs everywhere — it’s essential to economic growth. In developing countries, however, 2.5 billion adults lack a bank account and 200 million businesses go without much-needed credit.

IFC works through financial institutions to provide access to finance to far more SMEs than we would be able to reach on our own. In FY18, our clients provided nearly $365 billion in SME loans. In addition, since 2005, we have invested over $18 billion and worked with over 550 inclusive businesses in more than 90 countries. These businesses serve low-income and underserved populations.

$365B in SME Loans Provided by IFC Clients

In Lao PDR, IFC and Thailand’s TMB Bank teamed up in 2017 to provide $9.1 million in financing to ACLEDA Bank Lao. The funding will help the bank bolster access to finance for the country’s SMEs, especially those owned by women.

To reach even more people across emerging markets, IFC worked with Crédit Agricole CIB on an innovative transaction that will enable the bank to boost its trade-finance activities and lend an additional $510 million to support health, education, and other key services. Through the Synthetic Risk Transfer transaction, we provided $85 million in credit-risk protection on Crédit Agricole CIB’s $2 billion portfolio of emerging-market trade finance and corporate loans, enabling it to expand lending.

IFC’s $200 million investment through offshore local-currency bonds in India’s Housing Development Finance Corporation is also helping to expand affordable housing. HDFC will allocate $600 million from its own resources to create a fund that will finance the construction of 80,000 homes by 2022 — helping to fulfill the country’s ambitious “Housing for All” plan.

In Turkey, where women entrepreneurs face a credit gap of $5 billion, IFC invested $75 million in the first private sector gender bond in emerging markets. The bond, issued by Garanti Bank, is expected to triple the number of loans to the bank’s women clients over the next five years.