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IFC Trade Finance Helps Banks in Lebanon Support Trade and Create Jobs


In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +202 24 619 140
E-mail: RMustafa@ifc.org

Beirut, Lebanon, June 1, 2011—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, closes its fiscal year in June  having once again successfully used its Global Trade Finance Program to help Lebanon-based firms do business in international markets.

Since the program’s inception in Lebanon in 2006, IFC has provided trade finance guarantees worth almost $580 million to financial institutions in the country to help their client businesses access global import and export markets, guarantees that help drive trade and create jobs.

“IFC works with our partner banks in Lebanon to help the country’s businesses grow and prosper,” said Thomas Jacobs, IFC’s Lebanon Country Officer. “Over the coming year, we will be looking for opportunities to expand the program, which is good news for the country’s economic growth.”

IFC uses its Global Trade Finance Program to help foreign firms and financial institutions feel confident doing business with Lebanon-based companies. IFC provides partial or full guarantees against underlying trade instruments and covers the payment risk of participating issuing banks. This allows issuing banks to expand their trade finance transactions within an extensive network of countries, and allows banks to enhance their trade finance coverage.

To date, Banque Libano-Francaise has been Lebanon’s largest user of IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program. IFC’s other GTFP partner banks in Lebanon are Bank of Beirut, BLC Bank, Fransabank, and HBL Lebanon.

In late May, Bank of Beirut and BLC Bank attended IFC’s annual GTFP Partner Banks Meeting in Istanbul and received awards for their impressive efforts over the past year. Bank of Beirut took home the prize for “Best Issuing Bank in Middle East and North Africa for Regional Trade,” while BLC Bank was named “Best GTFP Network Bank in Middle East and North Africa” for establishing the largest number of new correspondents in the region because of IFC GTFP support.

Additionally, June 1 marks the start of the Exporta conference in Beirut, the first Levant Region Trade and Investment Conference. BLC Bank will present alongside IFC on the role of multilateral partnerships in increasing trade finance availability, just one of the important regional trade topics up for discussion at the event.

In response to recent events in the Middle East and North Africa, IFC is rolling out a robust campaign to promote the private sector in the region. Included in its response plan is a commitment to scale up access to finance—into which the Global Trade Finance Program fits—as well as establish a fund to promote regional integration investments, a financing facility to address the region’s infrastructure gap, and an education for employment initiative to help match learning opportunities to the region’s job market needs.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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