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Sun 7 Nov 2010 11:22 PM

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World Bank arm to finance small Arab enterprises

Private sector arm to help local banks develop new products for these businesses

World Bank arm to finance small Arab enterprises
Regulatory environment for small businesses in Arab world is improving, but financing still a major challenge

The International Finance Corp, the private sector arm of the World Bank, will provide more financing to small and medium sized enterprises in the Middle East as part of its plan to help revive the global economy.

On November 3, IFC’s chief executive officer Lars Thunell said in Riyadh: “The IFC’s Doing Business Index showed that the regulatory environment for small businesses in the Arab world is improving, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia, but financing is still a major challenge for them.”

He said, the IFC is focusing on helping local banks develop new products for these businesses because they are being overlooked by many lenders in the region.

The Washington based IFC is also working with the Kuwait based Arab Development Fund for Economic and Social Development to help the regional body with a new $2 billion fund designed to finance small and medium sized Arab businesses, Thunell said.

He didn’t elaborate on the nature of the role the IFC will play to assist the Arab Development Fund, a body in which all Arab governments are members.