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IFC to Invest $30 million in Central Asia Leasing Facility


In Washington:
Georg Schmidt

Phone: +1 (202) 458-2934

Email:
Gschmidt@ifc.org


Washington, D.C., March 8, 2005— The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has approved a $30 million investment in the Central Asia Leasing Facility. The facility will provide long-term credits to local financial institutions in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, which will enable them to originate leases for small and medium enterprises. The financing will be complemented by a dedicated technical assistance program aimed at building leasing capacity.

The facility adds another facet to IFC’s development of financial leasing in the region over the past several years.  The groundwork for this project has been laid by the technical assistance and advisory work of IFC’s Private Enterprise Partnership, which has created a significantly improved legal and regulatory environment for financial leasing products and services in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.  


Jyrki Koskelo, IFC’s director for global financial markets said, “IFC plays a critical role in developing the leasing sector in the region through technical assistance and investments.  This project will give companies in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan better access to finance and will help diversify the local financial sector.”

Khosrow Zamani, IFC’s director for Southern Europe and Central Asia, added, "The facility is part of IFC’s ongoing effort to strengthen the financial sector in Central Asia, as viable financial institutions are key to sustained economic growth.  It will also assist in the development of the emerging small and medium enterprise sector by increasing the availability of credit.”

The mission of IFC (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, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.