Press Releases

IFC and Swiss Government Expand Access to Finance in Azerbaijan, Central Asia

In Bishkek:
Anastassiya Marina

Phone: (+996312) 626 129


In Moscow:

Nezhdana Bukova

Phone (+7495) 411 7555


Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, December 25, 2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with the government of Switzerland in launching a three-year project to strengthen financial market infrastructure and improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

IFC will work with the respective governments and financial institutions to establish and strengthen credit information sharing systems and introduce formal education in risk management and certification for financial institution employees. It also will help increase public awareness of the benefits of credit information sharing systems and risk management. This initiative is part of the Azerbaijan-Central Asia Financial Markets Infrastructure Advisory Services Project.

IFC held roundtables and training sessions on credit bureau basics and practices over last two months in each country. The roundtables brought together high- level decision-makers and potential shareholders in private credit bureaus, and stressed the importance and benefits of credit information sharing. The two-day seminars that followed the roundtables provided middle  management from financial intermediaries and credit information sharing institutions with a review of key issues related to private credit bureau operations.

“We are very  interested in  developing credit information exchange mechanisms in the country and believe that with IFC’s help we’ll be able to establish a successful credit bureau with a wide scope of activity serving  creditors and borrowers at the highest level,” said Elchin Habibov, Head of the Central Bank’s Centralized Credit Registry Services in Azerbaijan.  

“Supporting development of small enterprises by providing long-term and sustainable access to finance is a Swiss government priority in Tajikistan,” said Rudolf Schoch, Country Director, Swiss Cooperation Office in the Tajikistan. “The project will help financial institutions make faster and accurate credit decisions, increasing the availability and affordability of financial services for individual consumers and SMEs.”

Effective credit information sharing systems are critical to expanding access to credit for both individuals and small businesses. Credit bureaus allow financial institutions to get timely, credible, and objective information on borrowers, reducing loan processing time and credit defaults.

IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with the IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by developing financial infrastructure to expand access to finance for people and smaller businesses in the region.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit

About Switzerland’s support

Swiss funding for the project is provided by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the Swiss Confederation’s competence center for all core issues related to economic policy. Its aim is to create basic regulatory and economic policy conditions to enable business to flourish and benefit all. SECO also represents Switzerland in the large multilateral trade organizations and international negotiations, and is involved in efforts to reduce poverty and help developing countries with transition economies build sustainable democratic societies and viable market economies. Each year, Switzerland spends about $1.5 billion on development cooperation and transition assistance to developing countries. For more information, visit