30 May 2017

Tunisia: IFC Helps Improve Access to Finance for Small Businesses in Tunisia

press release

Tunis, Tunisia — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping the Centre Financier des Entrepreneurs Tunisie (CFE Tunisie), a microfinance institution, improve access to finance for very small enterprises (VSEs), part of an effort to boost economic growth and job creation in Tunisia.

IFC will advise CFE Tunisie on how to scale up its lending and develop products tailored to local small businesses. IFC will also help CFE Tunisie better manage risks, allowing it to extend crucial financing to entrepreneurs, something that is considered key in the fight against poverty. The lender, part of an international network of 12 microfinance institutions, is new to Tunisia. The institution held a kick-off ceremony last week, which featured representatives from IFC and the Japanese embassy along with several clients.

"IFC is a key partner in helping us to develop our business and improve access to finance for VSEs," said Sylvain Bourgelas, CEO of CFE Tunisie. "This is absolutely critical to expanding CFE's reach in Tunisia and encouraging economic growth."

In Tunisia, about 2.5 million people live at or near the poverty line and unemployment rates are persistently high. Yet the microfinance sector still only serves 370,000 individuals. With commercial banks not reaching down to serve this part of the population, the missing middle segment of small and very small enterprises offers considerable potential for microfinance institutions.

"With this project, IFC is strengthening its support to the microfinance sector, promoting the development of entrepreneurship and inclusive growth in Tunisia," said Georges Ghorra, IFC Acting Country Manager in Tunisia.

This partnership is in line with the broader strategy of IFC in Tunisia, which aims to improve access to financial services for micro, small, and medium enterprises. This project was made possible through the support of the Ministry of Finance of Japan.

SOURCE International Finance Corporation (IFC)

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