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DFC Commits $50 Million to Expand Financing for Iraqi Entrepreneurs

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today signed a ceremonial agreement for a $50 million loan to the National Bank of Iraq (NBI) that will expand access to financing for entrepreneurs across the country. This marks DFC’s first loan to a commercial bank in Iraq.

DFC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Scott Nathan joined National Bank of Iraq Chairman Bassem Al-Salem for the ceremony. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani witnessed the ceremony on the margins of the U.S.-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee meeting – a testament to the strong bilateral partnership between the U.S. Government, the Government of Iraq, and the private sector to advance economic growth and opportunity in the country.

“DFC is committed to helping Iraq unlock its economic potential and empower its private sector by providing meaningful financial support for small businesses,” said DFC CEO Scott Nathan. “Today’s announcement is a significant step forward in these efforts. This investment will increase access to finance for first-time borrowers and women entrepreneurs across Iraq.”

“Access to finance is a key driver of innovation, economic growth, and job creation. USAID’s assistance helps private banks to overcome liquidity challenges and offer affordable commercial loans to small businesses. Through our partnership with NBI and DFC, we’re helping to create a more robust, diversified, and inclusive private sector in Iraq,” said USAID Mission Director to Iraq Elise Jensen.

“The Iraqi Government’s dedication to fostering an environment conducive to growth, and the Prime Minister’s strategic focus on empowering small and medium-sized enterprises, have been pivotal to reaching this significant milestone. We are confident that this collaboration will foster a more inclusive and dynamic economy in Iraq,” said NBI CEO, Ayman Abu Dhaim.

The loan will increase access to financing opportunities for smaller Iraqi businesses (persistently a key barrier for growth) through Iraq’s largest private sector bank. This initiative will prioritize first-time borrowers and allocate funding for women-owned enterprises, bringing more small businesses into Iraq’s formal financial system. During the project preparation, USAID provided advisory services to facilitate the NBI/DFC loan negotiations and expedite closure of the deal. DFC is the lender of record for the loan transaction.

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