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IFC Invests in Afghanistan International Bank to Strengthen Banking Sector and Boost Financial Inclusion


Press Contacts:
Riham Mustafa, IFC
Phone: +(202) 2461 4230
E-mail:
rmustafa@ifc.org

Jenny Boyd, Thoburns, for AIB

Phone: +44 (0) 20 7324 5494
Email:
j.boyd@thoburns.com


London, November 27, 2017—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is acquiring a 7.5 percent equity stake in the Afghanistan International Bank (AIB) to help the bank boost its commercial lending and enhance financial inclusion, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

IFC envisages aiding the conflict-affected country’s recovery efforts by boosting financial inclusion. Afghanistan’s per capita income of $562 in 2016 was the lowest in Asia and among the 20 lowest in the world. According to World Bank Group estimates, 96 percent of the Afghan population does not have access to banking services. A 2014 Enterprise Survey found that only 5 percent of firms had a line of credit and just 2 percent used banks for their funding needs.


Tony Barned, AIB’s Chief Executive Officer, said of the partnership: “Extending banking facilities to small- and medium-sized companies is one of our strategic priorities. IFC’s expertise in the SME segment will help AIB to grow its existing loan portfolio, and enable AIB to increase its contribution to Afghanistan’s economic growth by boosting access to bank financing.”


AIB will also make use of the comprehensive advisory services offerings from IFC to help strengthen the bank’s operational capacity and support its future growth.


Nadeem Siddiqui, IFC’s Senior Country Manager for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said: “SMEs are critical for economic and social development, yet many still struggle to access funding. This project will help boost access to finance for such businesses and will also help strengthen and build confidence in Afghanistan’s financial sector at a challenging time, helping the government with its reform agenda.”


AIB is Afghanistan’s premier financial entity with numerous partnerships with international financial organizations as well as extensive local affiliations. These relationships allow AIB to offer a wide range of services including dollar clearing—the only organization in the country able to do so— as well as correspondent banking and the financing of commercial and consumer loans. AIB is also actively engaged with its workforce to provide equal opportunities for all staff, particularly in the career development of its female employees.


IFC is already engaged in the financial sector in Afghanistan through a trade facility with AIB and an investment in the First Microfinance Bank. IFC continues to seek new investments in Afghanistan to support the development of its private sector and spur job creation, especially in the areas of infrastructure, finance and agribusiness.



About Afghanistan International Bank

Afghanistan International Bank (AIB) is Afghanistan’s premier financial institution and is widely regarded as the most respected and trusted in the country’s financial sector. Founded in 2004, AIB provides a comprehensive range of banking services, including Islamic banking, to individuals and businesses, from its operational hubs across Afghanistan. The business is also closely involved with projects at a local level, engaging regularly with SMEs to provide lending programs and financing schemes. AIB is the five-time consecutive winner of The Banker’s Best Bank in Afghanistan award, cementing its commitment to international standards as a means of enhancing the bank’s role in the Afghan economy. The bank employs 825 across the country, 15% of whom are women.


About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org

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