EBRD and IMON International increase funding for MSEs in Tajikistan

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo
@pyrkalo

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is responding to rising demand for local-currency funding from micro and small enterprises in Tajikistan with a new loan to microcredit deposit-taking organisation IMON International, CJSC.

The loan, in Tajik somoni equivalent to US$ 5 million, will be used by IMON for on-lending to micro and small-sized enterprises (MSEs). The investment will be signed during a visit to the Tajik capital of Dushanbe by EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti.

IMON is the largest microfinance institution in Tajikistan with more than 83,000 customers served by the organisation’s extensive national network of 127 branches and service outlets. In December 2012, IMON received deposit taking license and currently offers a range of loan and deposit products for businesses, sole entrepreneurs, MSMEs and farmers; its primary focus is on underserved, economically active members of the Tajik population.

Richard Jones, Head of the EBRD Resident Office in Dushanbe, commented: “With this four-year senior loan in somoni, the EBRD expects to make an important contribution in the microfinance sector by reducing foreign currency exposure for IMON International and its clients.”

“The EBRD’s financing will help us increase the supply of affordable credit to farmers, micro and small businesses, as well as female entrepreneurs, creating income and new jobs. We also plan to open additional branches, expand credit for agriculture and strengthen rural financing,” said Sanavbar Sharipova, CEO of IMON International.

The EBRD has a longstanding relationship with IMON, in which it is a shareholder. A first loan of US$ 1 million was provided in 2005, and a further six loans were extended for a total of US$ 15 million. In November 2013, the EBRD became a shareholder in IMON, alongside the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), with the aim of supporting IMON’s goal to become a dedicated microfinance bank.

Since the beginning of its operations in the country, the EBRD has invested €360 million in Tajikistan across many sectors of the economy.