EBRD boosts financing for real economy in Kazakhstan

By Ina Coretchi

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The EBRD is increasing the availability of financing to the Kazakh economy with a $50 million credit line to Bank CenterCredit (BCC), for on-lending to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Part of the EBRD’s crisis response, the transaction aims at supporting the growth of private businesses in Kazakhstan, which are currently facing limited access to financing as a result of banks’ liquidity constraints.

Following a similar loan to BCC in 2008, which was fully disbursed, the new credit line will be used to finance the operations of micro, small and medium-sized businesses in Kazakhstan with loans of up to $500,000.

Building on BCC’s extensive branch network, the credit line will focus especially on companies operating outside of Almaty and Astana, the financial and the administrative capitals of Kazakhstan, respectively.

“Through this transaction the EBRD is bringing significant new funding into the real economy, and supporting the development of private businesses in the current challenging environment. The project also underlines the Bank’s firm commitment to support the financial sector in Kazakhstan”, said Thomas Mirow, the EBRD President.

“In the current economic situation small and medium enterprises represent one of the key factors for sustainable development of the economy, playing a significant role in mitigating the adverse effect of credit crunch. Despite tougher lending conditions, the demand from Kazakhstani SMEs for loans, especially longer term funding, does not decrease. We are pleased to consolidate our relationship with the EBRD through this transaction”, added BCC Chairman of the Management Board Vladislav Lee.

One of the first privatised banks in Kazakhstan, BCC is currently the fifth largest financial institution in the country, with a nationwide network and a strong focus on MSME financing.

With this latest transaction the EBRD’s commitment to the Kazakh financial sector has reached €1 billion. Overall since the beginning of its activities in Kazakhstan, the EBRD has invested more than €2.3 billion in various sectors of the country’s economy.

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