International Financial Institutions create fund to support businesses in Caucasus

Business Materials 30 March 2012 16:55 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, March 30 / Trend A.Akhundov /

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group (IFC), the Netherlands development bank (FMO) and Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) will invest in the Caucasus Growth Fund, the EBRD statement said on Friday.

"This new fund is backed and managed by Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF), a global fund manager. 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," the statement said.

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.

"Through their collaboration, the international financial institutions are supporting private equity investments in the SME segment, which is the backbone of the Caucasus economies and plays a key role in job creation," the statement 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, the statement noted.

"Fostering entrepreneurship in the countries that strive towards a market economy is the cornerstone of the EBRD's strategy. The overwhelming majority of the EBRD's activities support private sector developement. The EBRD is delighted to join forces with its partner IFIs and SEAF to support the development of the private equity sector in the region. This project will bring much-needed resources and knowledge to support the development of prospective businesses," said Paul-Henri Forestier, EBRD Director for Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus.