EBRD provides first local currency loan in Georgia

By Ina Coretchi

The EBRD is increasing the availability of financing to private businesses in Georgia by extending its first local currency loan in the country for on-lending to micro and small enterprises (MSEs).

The Bank is extending a Georgian Lari (GEL) loan equivalent to $1 million to Crystal, a non-bank microfinance institution, to support the organization in its drive to expand operations and further develop its portfolio of MSE credits, particularly in rural areas and in the agricultural sector.

Established in 1998, Crystal operates in Western Georgia where it has a strong presence, including in some rural areas where no other lender operates.
Through this transaction the EBRD is helping Crystal meet the increasing demand for longer-term loans in GEL, facilitating MSE’s access to financing at a time when local currency lending in Georgia remains limited.

The EBRD is setting a specific priority on promoting local currency borrowing in its countries of operations in a drive to reduce excessive dependency on foreign currency debt.

The EBRD loan is accompanied by $100,000 in grant funds, which will be used to strengthen Crystal’s corporate governance and risk management.

Since the beginning of its operations in Georgia, the EBRD has committed over €663 million in approximately 120 projects in the financial, corporate, infrastructure and energy sectors.