Supporting small business entrepreneurs in Tajikistan

A bakery is just one of the small businesses in Tajikistan to benefit from EBRD credit lines.

Eighty years ago Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe was a small market town in Central Asia. Today small business trading continues to be crucial to the economic future of the capital and the rest of the country – the least developed in the EBRD region.

However, obtaining the necessary finance to start or expand a small enterprise is not easy, especially for entrepreneurs who have never had access to credit before.

Improved access to finance

That is why the EBRD supports them with micro and small credit lines accessed via Tajik partner banks and microfinance institutions.

Since 2003, banks have boosted small business across the country through more than 95,000 loans (worth over US$ 478 million) while non-banking institutions have distributed more than 338,610 loans.

Qurbonov Rakhimjon’s company benefited from the credit made available by the EBRD. He produces biscuits and cakes under the popular brand name “Basri” in his small bakery on the outskirts of Dushanbe.

Modernising facilities and expanding production

Thanks to loans obtained through one of the partner banks he could purchase new equipment, modernise his baking facilities and expand production. Before the first loan Mr Rakhimjon used to produce only one type of biscuit. Now he can offer his customers a choice of 15 varieties.

Providing finance to micro and small businesses is only one part of the EBRD’s project. It also aims to help develop the country’s banking sector and create a sustainable basis for continued lending to micro and small enterprises.

With technical cooperation grants from Japan, Switzerland, the UK, the US and the European Commission, the EBRD assisted its Tajik partner institutions to develop the necessary skills to support creditworthy clients through specialised training in micro lending.

The technical assistance helped to improve corporate governance, strengthen internal controls and risk management.