Tashkent, Uzbekistan, August 18, 2008—Lars
Thunell, Executive Vice President and CEO of IFC, a member of the World
Bank Group, today concluded his first official visit to Uzbekistan by emphasizing
that IFC will continue to increase access to finance for micro and small
enterprises, contribute to improving the business enabling environment,
and help develop housing finance. IFC will also seek opportunities for
new investment in agribusiness and manufacturing.
During his visit, Thunell met with Rustam
Azimov, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Uzbekistan,
and discussed opportunities to expand cooperation. They signed a cooperation
agreement establishing a new framework for assessing the impact of regulations
affecting Uzbek businesses.
Thunell signed a $3 million loan for
Uzbek Leasing International A.O., the first leasing company established
in Uzbekistan and an existing IFC client. This loan will enable the company
to expand financing options for micro and small businesses.
Thunell also met with the management
of Hamkor Bank, a leading private bank in Uzbekistan and an existing IFC
client, to learn about conditions in the banking industry and to discuss
new IFC financing for the bank.
“IFC is working with the government
to improve business conditions and make financing more accessible in Uzbekistan,”
Thunell said. “Access to credit will help companies expand their businesses,
create jobs, and help more people own homes.”
Since 1994, IFC has invested $55 million
in 14 projects in Uzbekistan’s food processing, construction materials,
banking, and leasing industries. IFC’s current portfolio is worth about
$6 million, most of which is invested in Asaka Bank, ABN AMRO Bank NB Uzbekistan,
Hamkor Bank, Parvina Bank, and Uzbek Leasing International.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing
private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international
financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services
to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that people should have
the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC
committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through
syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing
countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.