Baku, Azerbaijan, May 5
By Azad Hasanli - Trend:
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in the near future will for the first time provide loans in 2016 within the framework of projects in agribusiness and women's entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan, head of EBRD's Baku office Neil McKain said.
He made the remarks May 5 at the "Fostering inclusive and sustainable industrial development in the New Silk Economic Belt: leveraging potentials of industrial parks, zones and cities in Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan" workshop.
The EBRD's Women in Business program is funded by European Union, Sweden and the Early Transition Countries Fund. Over €50 million will be made available from the EBRD for credit lines channeled through partner financial institutions for on-lending to women-led SMEs. This is combined with €9 million in donor funding, enabling risk mitigation funds and technical assistance to partner banks, as well as business advice, training and mentoring for women entrepreneurs.
He said that the key factor of the EBRD's strategy on Azerbaijan as a whole is to support diversification of economy.
The head of the office said that the bank annually financed dozens of projects each year to support small and medium business in Azerbaijan, helping at all stages, starting from the allocation of funds and ending with the output of the product on the market.
The EBRD also provides consulting services to bring financial reporting, marketing, etc. in accordance with international practice, McKain said.
He added that to date, the EBRD has already helped nearly 400 companies with business development.
Earlier, McKain told Trend that less than $50 million would be allocated to finance agricultural sector within the framework of the Azerbaijan Agricultural Finance Facility (AZAFF) in the country in 2016. The EBRD is also holding trainings for bankers in agricultural lending within this project.