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EBRD and KazMicroFinance channel US$ 5 million to rural SMEs

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and KazMicroFinance – the largest non-banking microfinance institution in Kazakhstan – continue their efforts to improve access to finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the regions of Kazakhstan.

To increase access to credit for small entrepreneurs and farmers in remote areas of Kazakhstan, the two institutions have signed a commitment for a loan of US$ 5 million equivalent in local currency financing as the second tranche under the existing US$ 10 million financing facility agreed last year. The new loan is being made in local currency, the tenge.

KMF has served over 120,000 clients, distributing over US$ 140 million worth of loans throughout the country.

“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”, said EBRD Director for Kazakhstan, Janet Heckman. “We believe non-bank institutions like KazMicroFinance, a long-standing partner of the EBRD, play a very big role in improving access to finance in rural areas”.

“At present, entrepreneurs in rural areas of Kazakhstan have poor access to funding. 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 glad that after seven years and US$ 17 million channeled to Kazakh SMEs, the fruitful cooperation between the EBRD and KMF is continuing,” - said the CEO of KMF, Shalkar Zhussupov.

Since the beginning of its operations in Kazakhstan 20 years ago, the EBRD has invested close to US$ 6.7 billion in the country’s economy, with more than half of the projects supporting the private sector.

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