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EBRD pledges fresh funds to expand operations of IMON International

By Anton Usov

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is continuing its support for leading microlending institution IMON International (IMON), which is responsible for a quarter of microlending operations in Tajikistan and the provision of financial services to more than 100,000 microbusinesses and individual borrowers. Following the acquisition of IMON by international shareholders in June 2021, the EBRD is pledging new financial resources of US$ 4 million, which will help promote green investments and create new opportunities for women-led small businesses in the country.

The financial package consists of a US$ 3 million loan under the Bank’s Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF). Up to US$ 2.25 million will be for the EBRD’s own account while the remaining US$ 0.75 million will be provided as concessional financing by the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The Bank’s part of the loan will be disbursed in somoni, which will help borrowers limit foreign exchange risks.

GEFF will support Tajik small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and households willing to invest in green technologies. It is part of the EBRD’s plan to increase its climate and environmental finance and make more than 50 per cent of its annual investment green by 2025. GEFF, supported in Tajikistan by GCF and the Republic of Korea, will also use funds from the European Union’s Enhanced Competitiveness of Tajik Agribusiness Programme (ECTAP), which promotes competitiveness in the agribusiness sector.

The remaining part of the package of up to US$ 1 million will be provided under the EBRD’s Women in Business programme in Central Asia (Women of the Steppe Programme) supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), and Switzerland through the Small Business Impact Fund (SBIF). The programme will help promote women’s entrepreneurship and business activity by assisting with access to finance, know-how and technical advice. Imon will also benefit from technical support to enhance the services it offers to women-led businesses.

To date, the EBRD has invested €801 million through 145 projects in Tajikistan’s economy.

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