International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, signed an advisory agreement with Pakistan’s largest Islamic bank, Meezan Bank, to help boost access to Islamic finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for economic & employment growth in Pakistan.
The agreement will help Meezan Bank utilize IFCs global expertise to scale up its SME banking and improve its supply chain finance program, to meet SME financing needs. Supply chain finance is an innovative way to finance SMEs while leveraging the financial strength of bigger businesses.
“The partnership with IFC will help us strengthen our footprint in the SME market as the leading Islamic bank in the country and expand the reach of Shariah-compliant products to this critical segment,” said Irfan Siddiqui, President & CEO of Meezan Bank.
Ariful Islam, Deputy CEO, Meezan Bank while highlighting the importance of financial rationing for SMEs said, “Pakistan’s SME sector has the potential to serve as a key competitive source. The performance, nurturing and growth of SMEs however are highly dependent on their access to multiple financing solutions. With IFC’s support, Meezan bank will be able to better service this critical segment.”
SMEs play a vital role in Pakistan’s economy, contributing 30 percent to its GDP and employing 90 percent of its non-agricultural workforce, but many still struggle to access funding. About a quarter of these firms prefer Islamic finance. The project will help Meezan Bank, the largest Islamic bank in Pakistan with more than 550 branches, to leverage its network and to reach out to these SMEs.
“IFC will tap into its global experience in supply chain finance and SME banking to help Meezan Bank pioneer Islamic supply chain finance and adopt international best practices in SME banking,” said Xavier Reille, Manager of the Financial Institutions Group for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
The agreement is part of ongoing efforts by the World Bank Group to boost financial inclusion globally and achieve universal financial access by 2020. Pakistan is a priority country for IFC. During the last three years, IFC has ramped up its investments and advisory services work in the country, helping to support the development of Pakistan’s private sector.About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org