International Financial Institutions to support small businesses in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 30 /Trend E. Kosolapova/
International Financial Institutions are teaming up to support local businesses with private equity financing in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development reported on Friday.
"The EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), IFC (International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group), FMO (the Netherlands development bank) and BSTDB (Black Sea Trade and Development Bank) will invest in the Caucasus Growth Fund, backed and managed by SEAF (Small Enterprise Assistance Funds), a global fund manager," the Bank said.
IFIs are initially providing $40 million and the Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF) will contribute an additional $2 million to the SEAF Caucasus Growth Fund, with a target size of $70 million. It will be the first institutional-quality fund dedicated to providing debt and equity capital to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
"Lack of capital is one of the most serious challenges for small and medium enterprises in the southern Caucasus. Through its investment in the SEAF Caucasus Growth Fund, IFC is helping address an important obstacle to these small and medium enterprises, which represent the backbone of economic diversification and employment," IFC Director for Europe and Central Asia Tomasz Telma said.
The Fund will invest across a range of industries, with particular focus on consumer and business services, agribusiness, distribution, energy and retail, which remain under-served by other capital providers.