IFC helps Sri Lankan banks strengthen trade finance expertise, boosting entrepreneurs

Tuesday, 4 September 2012 01:25 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, hosted an advanced trade finance seminar in Colombo to train bankers from Sri Lanka and Maldives on using sophisticated trade finance products, the better to serve small entrepreneurs engaged in international trade.

The five-day training program, sponsored by the Government of Japan, helps bankers identify opportunities to connect local businesses with international customers and suppliers. The participants also learn how to identify and mitigate operational risks by adopting international best practices in trade finance.

“It is important for bankers to continuously increase their knowledge in trade finance to stay competitive,” said Suguru Minoya, who heads the economic cooperation section at the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka. “We believe IFC’s training in trade finance is timely, as both countries expand trade and investment.”

This training was led by the IFC Global Trade Finance Advisory Program. The initiative is part of IFC’s $ 3 billion Global Trade Finance Program, which supports banks in emerging markets as they channel credit towards trade-related transactions of their clients.

“IFC’s trade finance program helps bankers keep pace with developments in global financial markets,” said Adam Sack, IFC Country Manager, Sri Lanka and Maldives. “We will continue to work with financial institutions through such interactive training programs designed to boost trade expertise.”

Established in 2005, the Global Trade Finance Program has issued more than 12,000 guarantees totalling $ 19 billion to banks for trade-related payment obligations of their clients in emerging markets. In fiscal 2012, IFC provided $2.9 billion to support trade in the world’s poorest countries, and 79 per cent of all guarantees went to small and medium enterprises. The program includes more than 250 partner banks in more than 90 emerging-market countries.

Sri Lanka is a priority country for IFC. IFC’s committed portfolio of $ 180 million in Sri Lanka covers projects across a range of sectors, including infrastructure, tourism, renewable energy, finance, and health care. IFC also provides advisory services to promote sustainable growth among small and medium enterprises by facilitating access to finance, and by offering capacity-building and training opportunities.