IFC, Holland buttress South Asian banks

KATHMANDU: IFC, a member of World Bank Group, and the government of the Netherlands are organising training programmes in Nepal and Bhutan to support trade finance and risk management awareness among bankers to improve their ability to assist local entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The Netherlands government and IFC hosted a two-day seminar in Thimphu, Bhutan, and here on February 1-2. The South Asia Enterprise Development Facility, managed by IFC in partnership with the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DfID) and the Norwegian Agency for Development, also supported the programme. The event promoted tools for managing risks associated with trade finance products and services, and for facilitating agreements between local banks that focus on international trade.

"Trade is a driving force of economy and an engine of growth in many developing countries," said Per Kjellerhaug, IFC Regional Manager for South Asia. "IFC's Global Trade Finance Programme targets Nepal and Bhutan to help them engage with the global trade network. I strongly believe that participants from banks of both countries will benefit from the course and will be able to improve their trade finance skills."

Marije Hulshof, Managing Director of NL EVD International, under the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands, said, "We are delighted to help IFC promote trade in developing countries. We appreciate IFC and the help it is providing to banks to strengthen their trade finance operations through the trade finance programme. I believe this support will help increase trade among emerging markets."

Launched in 2005, IFC Global Trade Finance Programme supports trade with emerging markets worldwide. It aims to increase developing countries' share of global trade and flow of goods and services among them.

Globally, the programme has provided more than $6.5 billion worth of guarantees to over 175 issuing banks in 80 countries, where more than 74 per cent are issued to small and medium enterprises. It also has delivered more than 75 training courses in trade finance, reaching 1,775 bankers in over 30 countries worldwide.

IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries.