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Promoting financial inclusion : Evidence from IFC’s operations in Sri Lanka (Inglês)

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, promotes private sector growth, by creating opportunities and helping people improve their lives and escape poverty. In Sri Lanka, IFC’s work focuses on encouraging sustainable economic growth and ensuring that benefits reach the poor. As part of its activities in the country, IFC is working with banks and other financial institutions to expand their network across the country and provide increased financial services for micro, small and medium enterprises, leading to economic growth and job creation. In Sri Lanka, IFC has had a long relationship with three major banks: Commercial Bank of Ceylon (CBC), National Development Bank (NDB), and Nations Trust Bank. IFC has financed and provided advisory services for the expansion of their small and medium enterprise operations. This first of its kind rapid assessment study is based on primary and secondary data. It concludes that collaboration enabled the banks to establish focused strategies, strengthen internal systems, and catalyze financial development in frontier regions. This led to the financial sector performing better. The enterprises surveyed grew operations, created new jobs, whilst also benefitting their suppliers. The survey revealed that, in spite of high interest rates and collateral, the enterprises surveyed grew their turnover by 100 percent on average, and created 361 new jobs. Of the new jobs created 122 were for women, averaging 30 new jobs per business. This paper concludes by stating that while the study shows significant results, it would be difficult to extrapolate them across Sri Lanka’s entire small and medium business sector unless further studies are carried out with larger samples.

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