The World Bank’s member International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Singapore-based lender DBS Bank Limited (DBS) have signed a $500 million facility under IFC’s Global Trade Liquidity Program (GTLP).

The facility aims to promote capital and trade flows in emerging markets across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, help bridge the record US$2.5 trillion global trade finance gap and accelerate economic progress across these regions, IFC said in a statement on Monday.

According to the statement, the facility includes IFC and DBS sharing the risk equally on a portfolio of trade-related assets of up to $500 million.

This enhances DBS’ capacity to support more trade financing – such as Letters of Credit – with faster turnaround time to businesses trading with emerging markets counterparts, while better managing risk.

IFC noted emerging markets play an important role in achieving a low-carbon future.

To accelerate the decarbonization of trade flows across emerging markets, it said 20 percent of the facility will be allocated to climate-eligible trade transactions, such as the trading of renewable energy equipment, energy efficient equipment and climate-smart agriculture certified commodities.

It is noted that the facility is part of IFC’s GTLP – a product designed to provide a countercyclical solution to the lack of trade financing in emerging markets by helping banks grow their credit limits, manage risk and support trade across developing markets which are often under-served.

It is IFC’s first GTLP with a Southeast Asian bank and the first long-term investment project between IFC and DBS.

“As our trade finance exposure to emerging markets continues to grow at pace, we constantly seek innovative ways to support our clients’ evolving requirements,

“These include a greater focus on strengthening supply chain resilience, diversifying business models, establishing new markets, and capitalizing on the significant increase in emerging markets trading and infrastructure activities,” said Sriram Muthukrishnan, Group Head of Global Transaction Services Product Management, DBS Bank.

According to him, this partnership with IFC enables them to support more clients with much-needed trade financing, catalyze opportunities for emerging markets businesses, and foster a more secure and sustainable global trade ecosystem.

Despite the critical role trade finance plays in economic progress, persistent trade finance gaps remain across emerging markets, exacerbated in recent years by heightened economic uncertainty, said the statement.

It noted Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – which are direct beneficiaries of the financing – are particularly impacted, limiting their ability to participate in global commerce.

“In today’s interconnected world, the importance of supply chains cannot be overstated, as they are the foundation upon which successful businesses and thriving economies are built,

““We believe that IFC’s partnership with DBS will unlock opportunities for more businesses to reach new markets and expand their operations, fostering economic growth,” said Nathalie Louat, Director of Trade and Supply Chain Finance at IFC.

It is noted that in 2023, IFC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) to catalyze financing for Singapore enterprises in emerging markets.

This is the first financing engagement facilitated under that MOU.

“Enterprise Singapore is committed to supporting the growth of Singapore enterprises globally by providing new financing solutions, and IFC has been a key partner in this effort,

“Last year, we signed an MOU with IFC to catalyze financing for our enterprises in emerging markets. We are glad to see that this has culminated in this collaboration between DBS and IFC,” said Geoffrey Yeo, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Singapore.

“DBS has been an active financing partner in supporting Singapore enterprises’ overseas expansion,

“We hope to facilitate more of such collaborations in the future,” he added.

Since inception, GTLP has – through global and regional banks – supported more than 400 financial institutions in 69 emerging market countries with over $53 billion in global trade volume.

IFC is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.

The organization works in more than 100 countries, using its capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries.

In fiscal year 2023, IFC committed a record $43.7 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of global compounding crises.

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