From left: Andrew Charles McCartney, Lead, Financial Institutions Group Advisory, IFC South Asia; Mengistu Alemayehu, Regional Director, IFC South Asia; Rachel Freeman, Advisory Manager, Financial Institutions Group Advisory, IFC Asia Pacific; Adam Sack, Country Manager, IFC Sri Lanka and Maldives; Samadanie Kiriwandeniya, Chairperson, SANASA Development Bank PLC; Nimal C Hapuarachchi, CEO, SANASA Development Bank PLC; Terrance Kumara, Assistant General Manager – Finance, SANASA Development Bank PLC)

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will provide advisory services to SANASA Development Bank as it expands to include more micro and small businesses, cooperatives, and retail clients, said IFC, the global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets, in a statement issued last week. Importantly, the bank will now reach more rural small businesses across the country, boosting financial inclusion.

Samadanie Kiriwandeniya
Samadanie Kiriwandeniya

IFC has been a long-term advisory partner with SANASA Development Bank since 2010, and also invested in its equity in 2012. Over the course of the next two years, IFC’s assistance will strengthen the bank’s overall operational capabilities and risk management framework.

“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 Chief Executive Officer of SANASA Development Bank PLC Nimal C Hapuarachchi.

“A transition of this depth requires strong and timely partnerships. IFC’s long-term partnership with SANASA Development Bank will significantly impact the bank’s value-creation process,” said Chairperson of SANASA Development Bank PLC Samadanie Kiriwandeniya.

Micro, small, and medium enterprises play a critical role in Sri Lanka’s economic development. However, access to finance remains a key constraint to the development of small businesses.

Etimos Foundation of Italy last week announced the appointment of Samadanie Kiriwandeniya, Chairperson of SANASA Development Bank PLC, to their Board of Directors. The Foundation formed on a Co-Operative platform, is affiliated to the largest credit Co-operative movement in Italy. It is committed for inclusive finance, sustainable agriculture and fair trade. Etimos Foundation operates in Italy and overseas, as a “participatory foundation”; an institution open to those who share the core principles and objectives of the Foundation.

It is the first international shareholder of SANASA Development Bank and has assisted in establishing the Etimos Sri Lanka Ltd., to strengthen micro finance organisations through debt financing and capacity building work, especially in the areas of livelihood development and fair trade in Sri Lanka.

Kiriwandeniya holds a Masters Degree from University of Saskatchewan, Canada and has wide experience in inclusive development, specialising in the field of micro finance and gender.