The Russia Small Business Fund (RSBF), set up by the EBRD with co-financing from the G-7 countries and Switzerland in 1994, is a lending framework for micro, small and medium-sized businesses (MSME) in Russia. Since its launch over 21 years ago, it has developed into Russia's biggest source of funding for this important sector of the economy, playing a key role in promoting growth, employment and free-market reform by supporting local banks' collaboration with MSMEs.
The RSBF's mandate was due to expire at the end of December 2015, but the EBRD Board has approved a two-year extension until December 31, 2017. This allows the Bank to continue its support of Russian financial institutions that lend to MSME's and, more broadly, to the local small business sector itself. The aim at this stage of the RSBF's life is to use this mandate to advise local financial institutions on how to serve the sector better and reach out to clients. This will be done both by using Technical Cooperation funds previously earmarked for this purpose by the G-7 and Switzerland and through the EBRD's policy dialogue with stakeholders.
The extension of the framework will allow for the continuation of the transfer of skills in the MSME sector since the participating banks will be offered TC to enhance their MSME lending skills.
Moreover, the expected commercial success of the RSBF-linked banks involved in lending to the MSME sector is expected to have a positive demonstration effect on the rest of the sector. Furthermore, greater and wider supply of MSME financing will make loans more accessible for MSMEs and will contribute to the development of entrepreneurial and small business culture in the country.
Beneficiaries of the TC and policy dialogue under the RSBF programme are private-sector banks as well as non-bank financial institutions.
Environmental and Social Summary
Categorised FI. Each bank having borrowed under RSBF is required to comply with EBRD's Performance Requirements 2 and 9, implement the EBRD's E&S Risk Management Procedures for Micro and SME loans and submit an Annual Environmental and Social Reports to the EBRD.
The TC project in the amount of USD 2.1 million will be drawn down from previous TC that was provided with the support of the RSBF Technical Cooperation Special Fund, financed by the G7 and Switzerland. Three interlinked objectives will be pursued, namely:
a) managing and supporting the Bank's existing portfolio quality;
b) preservation of existing processes and relationships, including intellectual assets; and
c) maintenance of EBRD's presence and influence in the MSME sector.
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