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IFC Investment in Amen Bank to Help Smaller Businesses in Tunisia

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 five years.  
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.
About IFC
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 .
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.
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