The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector of the World Bank Group, has announced that BRAC Bank, a leader in the small and medium enterprise banking market in Bangladesh, has joined its Global Trade Finance Program.

Under the programme, BRAC Bank will be able to increase its trade finance business and offer longer tenors and more competitive pricing to the smaller businesses that are its clients.

The Global Trade Finance Program supports trade with emerging markets worldwide and promotes the flow of goods and services between developing countries. Through the programme, IFC provides guarantee coverage of bank risk in emerging markets, allowing recipients to expand their trade finance transactions within an extensive network of countries and banks and to enhance their trade finance coverage.

IFC issued the programme’s first guarantee in September 2005. Since then, it has issued 500 guarantees in excess of US$450mn.

Iyad Malas, IFC’s director for South Asia, says, “We are delighted to strengthen our relationship with BRAC Bank through the Global Trade Finance Program. By joining the programme, we hope that BRAC Bank will be able to expand its network of correspondent banks and create new and valuable business opportunities for its clients in Bangladesh.”

The sectors that are expected to benefit include telecommunications, consumer goods, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and – through imports of machinery – the rapidly expanding textile sector.

Priyamvada Singh, IFC trade finance officer, adds, “We are very pleased to welcome BRAC Bank to the GTFP network; our facility will help BRAC Bank upscale its trade finance business as well as enhance its ability to provide efficient trade solutions for its clients.”