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IFC, EIB Lead Annual Forum to Discuss Progress on the Finance Agenda for Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, June 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the European Investment Bank today opened an annual forum of development finance institutions in Luxembourg to exchange knowledge on increasing access to financial services for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and discuss progress in advancing the G-20's SME finance agenda--a key priority for creating jobs and reducing poverty in developing countries.

The SME Finance DFI Meeting 2012 held by the SME Finance Working Group, a network of development finance institutions, is an annual meeting of policymakers, development practitioners, and private sector players to discuss successful SME finance models and agree on implementable actions to scale up sustainable SME finance and promote more business-friendly regulation and macro-level policy.

Access to financial services for small businesses and individuals remains a top priority for much of the developing world as 2.5 billion people still do not have formal financial services and 400 million small businesses lack the credit they need to grow--these enterprises account for nearly half the jobs created in developing countries.

"Generating employment and growth through support to SMEs is a critical priority for IFC, and governments, the private sector, and donors all have a role to play in advancing the SME finance agenda," said Peer Stein, Global Business Line Leader for IFC's Access to Finance Advisory Services. "These annual meetings are indispensable platforms for reporting on progress, measuring results, and planning on next steps."

"Ensuring funding for small-business investment and supporting the real economy are key priorities for EIB, and this engagement has been reinforced during the current economic crisis," said Plutarchos Sakellaris, Vice President of the European Investment Bank. "We work closely with peer institutions to ensure the most effective support and are glad to host this year's meeting of development finance institutions and policymakers on SME finance to help strengthen joint cooperation to the benefit of entrepreneurs."

The SME Finance DFI Meeting 2012 builds on last year's meeting co-hosted by IFC and the French Agency for Development in Paris and, as such, reports on progress made on a number of key recommendations made then, including the creation of the new SME Finance Initiative and the SME Finance Forum.

About EIB
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its member states. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment to contribute towards EU's policy goals. EIB, the largest international non-sovereign lender and borrower, raises the resources it needs to finance its lending activities by borrowing on the capital markets, mainly through public bond issues. For more information, visit http://www.eib.org/.

About IFC
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, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities--all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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SOURCE International Finance Corporation and European Investment Bank

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