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IFC helps Sri Lanka’s Sanasa Bank to reach rural small businesses

ECONOMYNEXT – The International Finance Corporation (IFC) said it will provide advisory services to Sri Lanka’s Sanasa Development Bank to help it reach more rural small businesses across the country, boosting financial inclusion.

“Over the course of the next two years, IFC’s assistance will strengthen the bank’s overall operational capabilities and risk management framework,” a statement said.

Micro, small, and medium enterprises play a critical role in Sri Lanka’s economic development but are constrained by access to finance.

“Sanasa Development Bank’s growth strategy involves long-term sustainable growth in three important sectors – SME, retail, and cooperative – to make financing more accessible to a larger number of people,” said Nimal C Hapuarachchi, Chief Executive of Sanasa Development Bank.

The IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has been a long term advisory partner with Sanasa Development Bank since 2010, and also invested in its equity in 2012.

Mengistu Alemayehu, IFC’s Regional Director for South Asia, said IFC will help the bank expand formal financial services to under-served cooperatives and rural micro and small businesses.

“Supporting Sri Lanka’s largest private microfinance institution’s transformation into an SME and retail bank will help reach much needed financial services to micro, small and medium enterprises in rural parts of the country.”

The IFC said Sri Lanka is a priority country for it with a committed portfolio of 419 million US dollars covering projects across a range of sectors, including infrastructure, tourism, renewable energy, finance, and healthcare.  (Colombo/September 7 2015)

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