The National, Tuesday, May 24, 2011
INTERNATIONAL Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping bankers in the Pacific Islands improve financial products and services for small and medium enterprises, allowing entrepreneurs to obtain financing for their businesses more easily.
IFC, in collaboration with the governments of Australia, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand, is training more than 20 bankers from 13 institutions from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands in building sustainable banking operations to support small and medium businesses.
The three-day training programme in Port Moresby – IFC’s first in the Pacific – covers strategy and market segmentation, product design, credit-risk management, and information management systems.
“Small and medium businesses are the backbone of the economy,” Loi Bakani, Governor of the Bank of PNG, said.
“Hence, IFC’s efforts to help close the financing gap by providing banks with practical knowledge to better understand and serve small entrepreneurs are extremely important.”
The training is part of IFC’s Global SME Banking Advisory Services Programme, which aims to help banks in emerging markets assess the potential benefits of and target the needs of small and medium enterprises and to expand this line of business.
“Often small and medium enterprises fund their own operations and struggle to grow their businesses,” IFC manager for the Pacific, Gavin Murray, said.
“By helping banks develop solutions for smaller enterprises to increase productivity and expand their operations, IFC is supporting economic growth and job creation across the region.”
IFC also has conducted similar trainings in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and Europe and Central Asia.