IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement to provide $100 million in debt financing to leading Lebanese bank Societe Generale de Banque au Liban (SGBL), to boost access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and help develop climate finance. 

IFC’s financing includes a loan of $57.16 million for IFC’s own account and $42.84 million mobilized through IFC’s Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP). IFC’s advisory team will also work with the SGBL to help enhance its capacity to finance climate change projects and help mitigate climate change. 

“By having access to IFC’s long-term financing facility, SGBL will be able to support its growth strategy and to better serve its clients’ needs by extending the maturities of our products offering. This in turn will help strengthen our country’s economy” said Antoun Sehnaoui, SGBL’s Chairman and CEO.

SMEs represent the backbone of Lebanese economy, making up about 95 percent of total formal enterprises and employing roughly half the working population, but the sector remains financially underserved. With 70 branches, the majority outside Beirut, SGBL is well placed to reach underserved SMEs across Lebanon. 

“Our work in Lebanon focuses on strengthening the financial sector by expanding access to finance for smaller businesses and helping to support knowledge exchange and innovation,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “SGBL is a long-term IFC partner and we hope we will be able to jointly help bridge the widening SME and climate finance gaps.”

IFC has been active in Lebanon’s financial sector, supporting a number of banks as part of its strategy to promote sustainable economic growth in fragile and conflict-affected states, boost access to finance, and help smaller firms create much needed jobs. 

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