December 10, 2002—The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the
private sector development arm of the World Bank Group, has signed an investment
agreement for US$5 million credit with one of Uzbekistan’s leading banks,
Asakabank. The credit line is intended for on-lending to small and medium
sized companies. This is IFC’s second credit line with Asakabank.
This credit line will support Uzbekistan’s SMEs and the export sector.
IFC’s first credit line financed 11 projects covering virtually all the
sectors of Uzbekistan’s economy.
Gorton De Mond, IFC’s Regional Representative, said: “The proposed investment
is intended to develop Uzbekistan’s export potential, create more jobs
and strengthen the private sector.”
Asaka Bank was created in 1995 as a “Specialized State Joint-Stock Commercial
Bank.” While it is majority state owned, it operates on a commercial basis.
In July 1998, the Government of Uzbekistan announced its plans to privatize
one or two state-owned banks, as part of its bank reform effort, and asked
IFC and EBRD for assistance. Asaka has been selected as a candidate, and
IFC and EBRD are jointly advising the Government of Uzbekistan on the sale
of up to 49 percent of Asaka’s shares.
IFC’s mission (www.IFC.org)
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries,
helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private
sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international
financial markets, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments
and businesses. Since its founding in 1956 through the close of the last
fiscal year on June 30, 2002, IFC committed more than $34 billion of its
own funds and arranged $21 billion in syndications for 2,825 companies
in 140 developing countries. IFC's committed portfolio at the end of FY02
was $15.1 billion for our own account and $6.5 billion held for participants
in loan syndications.