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Islamabad, Pakistan, July 15, 2013—
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement with HBL, one of Pakistan’s largest banks, to help the company increase lending to farmers, boosting agricultural productivity and spurring economic growth.
IFC will advise HBL as it rolls out a plan to disburse almost 25,000 new loans to farmers, who often have trouble obtaining financing. That prevents many from expanding their holdings, leaving parts of the country will small, relatively inefficient farms. The agreement with HBL is designed to address that issue and is IFC’s first agri-finance project in the Middle East and North Africa.
“In addition to ensuring food security, agriculture plays a vital role in supporting our economy and generating employment,” said Kashif Umar Thanvi, Head of Rural Banking at HBL. “We hope that our partnership with IFC will signal the significance of developing this sector and create more growth opportunities for local farmers.”
In Pakistan, the agriculture sector contributes about 21 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and employs over 45 percent of the total work force.
“Supporting agribusiness is a priority for IFC as it can be a driving force for boosting economic growth and encouraging competitiveness in low-income countries,” said Luke Haggarty, head of IFC’s Advisory Services in the Middle East and North Africa. “Extending loans to small farmers will increase their income and help them boost productivity.”
IFC and HBL are long-term partners. IFC has committed $50 million in loans to the lender since 2006, and provided a trade finance guarantee to support its clients as they accessed international markets. IFC also assisted HBL in developing a suite of financial services to help small and medium enterprises access credit. This initiative is part of IFC’s wider efforts in Pakistan to support private sector growth, improve access to infrastructure, boost trade, and extend financing for small-scale entrepreneurs.
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
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