International Finance Corporation (IFC) — a member of the World Bank Group — launched

a training initiative for banks in Nepal, to help them address the financing needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) so that the banks can expand operations and contribute to the country's economic growth.

Through a three-day training programme that started today, IFC will train officials of commercial and development banks in portfolio monitoring and non-performing loan management, and help them sharpen their skills to exploit the huge market potential in financing small businesses in Nepal. The SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility, managed by IFC in partnership with the UK government and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, is implementing the programme. The government of the Netherlands helped develop the programme.

"IFC's training programme is a timely and practical initiative that will guide bankers on how to cater to the specific needs of small and medium enterprises effectively," said president of Nepal Bankers' Association Rajan Singh Bhandari.

About 111,000 small and medium enterprises are currently operating in the country, employing an estimated 1.75 million people and accounting for one-fifth of the gross domestic product. However, 25 per cent of these businesses do not have formal banking relations with financial institutions.

A recent IFC study estimated that Nepal has a $2.5 billion untapped market for small business lending. "It is critical to meet the huge unfulfilled financing demand of small businesses in the country to promote the development of the sector, a key driver for economic growth and employment," said IFC's resident representative in Nepal Valentino S Bagatsing. "The initiative will help financial institutions expand their services to new customer segments and reach more small entrepreneurs," he added.

The training is part of IFC's broader support to the financial sector in Nepal. IFC's Access to Finance programme facilitates the growth of small and medium enterprises in Nepal, helping enhance their financing options through a supportive financial infrastructure, including institutions, financial product development, and improved payment regulations.

IFC is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector.


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