IFC will invest $100 million in the Lebanese financial sector
This year, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are preparing to launch investments in the financial sector.
Saad Sabra, IFC Country Head in Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen, said: “This year, we have in the pipeline local projects that will exceed $100 million with the goal to enhance the capacity of capital markets to allow more access to finance to investors.”
The IFC is targeting investments in capital markets, such as new bonds, as well as in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), manufacturing, and services.
The IFC is particularly considering investing in green bonds. Green bonds are tax-exempt bonds issued by qualified organizations for the development of areas that are underutilized or underdeveloped.
“We do not have a determined budget. We look at opportunities and we develop them,” Sabra said.
He said: “This is a priority country and if a viable and bankable opportunity comes forward, we measure how far we can finance it.”
The EBRD, which started local operations last September, is also considering investing in several sectors.
Gretchen Biery, Senior Advisor at EBRD, said: “We are actively pursuing a whole range of investments and it is going quite fast. We should be signing shortly our first deals in the financial sector.”
“We are looking at investing in the capital of banks and we are also looking at providing credit lines for SMEs to support trade facilitation, green energy, and women in business,” she said.
EBRD is exploring options across the infrastructure sector. In the power sector, it is considering renewable energy. In the manufacturing sector, it is looking at investments in the industrial zones project.
“We are in the process of developing a small business advisory program where we reach out to SMEs and provide advisory services by matching them up with consultants,” she said.
The EBRD will not have a budget limit. It will not provide subsidized investments. Its pricing will be based on market rates.