The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) believes that providing opportunities to people in underdeveloped regions is a key condition for the healthy growth of any economy.
To increase access to credit for small entrepreneurs and farmers in remote areas of Kazakhstan, the EBRD is now lending the local currency equivalent of US$ 10 million to KazMicroFinance (KMF), the largest non-banking microfinance institution in the country.
KMF has served over 78,000 clients, distributing over US$ 87 million worth of loans throughout the country. The EBRD loan will support the company’s expansion into agricultural and rural areas of Kazakhstan.
“Micro, small and medium-sized businesses are where the spirit of entrepreneurship lives”, said EBRD President, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, signing the deal in Almaty. “We are committed to small businesses everywhere – and we think in Kazakhstan access to finance in rural areas can be improved by non-bank institutions like KMF, a long-standing partner of the EBRD”.
“At present, entrepreneurs in rural areas of Kazakhstan have poor access to funding for supporting and developing their small businesses. Thanks to the EBRD’s loan, we will be able to meet the expectations of our current and potential clients: expand activity in remote rural areas and provide high quality microfinance services to people involved in agricultural industry and micro-entrepreneurship. We are proud that seven years’ fruitful cooperation between the EBRD and KMF is continuing with the signing of the current US$ 10 million loan agreement, which once again demonstrates the high level of confidence between us,” - said the CEO of KMF, Shalkar Zhussupov.
The EBRD considers supporting SMEs as one of its priorities in the country. The Bank has also worked with over 1,000 companies over the last ten years through its Business Advisory Services Programme (BAS/SBS) helping them to prepare bankable business plans, maintain good corporate records and information systems and prepare for exports. This year, for the first time, the Kazakh government will co-finance the EBRD’s Small Business Support services in Kazakhstan.
Since the beginning of its operations in Kazakhstan 20 years ago, the EBRD has invested close to US$ 6.3 billion in the country’s economy, with more than half of the projects supporting the private sector.