Tunis, Tunisia, January, 25, 2013—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, is supporting smaller businesses and
helping drive job creation in Tunisia with a new investment in Amen Bank.
Thanks in part to IFC’s help, the second-largest private sector bank in
the country plans to lend $800 million to smaller businesses over the next
IFC and two funds managed by IFC Asset Management Company have reached
an agreement to invest up to $48 million in Amen Bank. The investment will
help the bank increase its lending to smaller businesses, which are a vital
part of the Tunisian economy but often have trouble getting the loans they
need to grow and create jobs. As part of the partnership, IFC will also
provide Amen Bank with advice in risk management and corporate governance.
“At Amen Bank, we have made it a priority to reach out to smaller businesses,”
said Ahmed El Karm, CEO of Amen Bank. “This partnership with IFC will
help us continue to do that, while demonstrating the strength of our institution.”
IFC’s support is also expected to help boost investor confidence in Tunisia’s
banking sector. The $48 million investment will come from three sources:
IFC, the IFC Capitalization Fund, and the African Capitalization Fund.
The two funds are managed by IFC Asset Management Company.
"A strong financial sector is the backbone of any economy," said
Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC Vice President for Eastern and Southern Europe,
Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. "This investment
will help support Tunisia's financial sector and demonstrate its long-term
potential. It will also give smaller business access to capital, allowing
them to unlock their potential and create much-needed jobs.”
Micro, small, and medium enterprises account for about 80 percent of jobs
in Tunisia, but receive only about 15 percent of all bank loans. A new
IFC study, Assessing Private Sector Contributions to Job Creation,
found that this limited access to finance is a major barrier to generating
employment in the developing world.
Over the past two years, IFC has ramped up its engagement in Tunisia. IFC’s
strategy focuses in the short term on restoring investor confidence and
demonstrating that the country holds long-term potential. The organization
has made six new investments amounting to $105 million since January, 2011.
IFC has also stepped up its advisory support in Tunisia. In the past few
months, IFC has launched six projects aimed at improving the investment
climate, promoting sound corporate governance, and expanding access to
finance to smaller businesses. IFC also launched the E4E Initiative for
Arab Youth to help address youth employability in the country.
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, mobilizing
capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services
to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time
high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector
to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing
development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About IFC Asset Management Company
IFC Asset Management Company LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IFC, invests
third-party capital, enabling outside investors to benefit from IFC’s
expertise in achieving strong equity returns, as well as positive development
impact in the countries in which it invests. It manages the $3 billion
IFC Capitalization Fund, founded by IFC and the Japan Bank for International
Cooperation; the $1 billion IFC African, Latin American, and Caribbean
Fund; and the $182 million Africa Capitalization Fund, whose investors
are Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, African Development Bank, CDC Group
plc, European Investment Bank, OPEC Fund for International Development,
and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.