Promoting SME Finance – A Technical Workshop for Iraqi Banks
One of the key obstacles to SME lending in Iraq is the lack of expertise of both banks and SME in requirements and best practices of SME finance. Against this background the workshops aims to: (i) Provide to Iraqi Banks and SME / Business Development Centres (BDS) insight into the technical features and the overall success factors of commercial SME finance; (ii) Narrow the SME finance demand-supply side gap by promoting exchange of information and networking between banks and SME; and (iii) Give interested Iraqi banks on an individual basis a first orientation on how to implement an SME finance strategy.
In the course of the workshop both groups shall initially be trained in separate working groups. This will allow them to get acquainted with approaches and opportunities for successful SME lending from their own perspective. Afterwards they will be able to use their gained knowledge for a joint exchange. As such there will be separate trainers and facilitators for both groups of participants.
Within the framework of its recently commenced Sustainable Economic Development in Iraq (SEDI) program GIZ will head the workshop sessions for the BDS/SMEs and be responsible for the “demand side” of Iraqi SME finance. LFS is leading and conducting the sessions with high-level management of several Iraqi banks and trains the “supply side”.
SME Lending Diagnostic of Ashur International Bank
Following a workshop on key challenges of SME lending operations in Iraq and internationally recognized best practice SME lending techniques which had been held by LFS in Erbil, Iraq in November 2012 AIB was selected to receive technical assistance to evaluate their institutional performance and SME lending operations. LFS was assigned to carry out this evaluation in two of AIB’s branches, namely Erbil and Sulaymanyah.
After a brief off site preparatory phase two SME experts travelled to Iraq to conduct a SWOT analysis of AIB’s SME operations based on a review of written documentation and on-site interviews with AIB staff and clients. At the closure of the field mission key findings were presented to the management of AIB in a debriefing. Comprehensive findings, conclusions and recommendations were thereafter documented in a written diagnostic report that was submitted to AIB and Sanad. Feedback of AIB and Sanad was discussed in a final workshop alongside with potential institution building measures to be delivered to AIB by LFS in the near future.