BAKU, Azerbaijan, Nov. 28
Tamilla Mammadova – Trend:
In Georgia, access to finance remains a major challenge for small businesses, hindering the country’s growth potential, Ivana Fernandes Duarte, IFC’s Regional Manager for the South Caucasus told Trend.
"In response, one of IFC’s strategic priorities is to support the private sector by strengthening the financial sector, especially banks, thus allowing them to extend loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), creating jobs, and enabling economic growth," she noted.
Duarte noted that amid the coronavirus pandemic and its severe impact on small businesses, in 2020, IFC partnered with Isbank Georgia, a fully owned subsidiary of Isbank, the largest private banking group in Turkey and IFC’s long standing client.
"IFC’s $10-million loan supports the bank in its efforts to expand financing to local SMEs. Another agreement with IFC allows Isbank Georgia to hedge its USD-denominated funding to better manage its currency and interest rate risk," she added.
To support trade finance transactions, in July 2020, IFC increased the limit of the trade finance facility for Basis Bank from $2 million to $5 million, she added.
"Further, with the pandemic disproportionately impacting micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and women-led SMEs globally, IFC - supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility - has also provided local currency loans of 200 million Georgian lari ($64.5 million) to Bank of Georgia. The funding aims to provide relief to MSMEs - especially women entrepreneurs - and support their recovery," Duarte said.
Georgia became an IFC member and shareholder in 1995.
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