Baku, Azerbaijan, November 26, 2007—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, and BP on behalf of its co-venturers
have today signed a grant agreement to improve access to finance for micro
and small enterprises in western Azerbaijan. A $1 million grant from BP
will help the Micro Finance Bank of Azerbaijan expand its branch network
to the towns of Mingechevir and Gazakh and enhance services in the Ganja
branch. The grant will be matched by $2.3 million of IFC and MFBA’s own
investments through a separate agreement.
The project will help provide access to loans for micro and small enterprises
in all sectors and improve financial intermediation. This will have positive,
lasting effects on private investment, job creation, and the socioeconomic
conditions in western Azerbaijan. BP’s contribution will be used to support
international credit experts and develop local loan officers and branch
“We believe this project will have positive and sustainable effects on
private investment, helping create jobs and improve the social and economic
environment in Azerbaijan’s western regions. The main focus will be on
the communities where BP has economic development operations, especially
along the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and the South Caucasus pipelines. The project
will also benefit a broader group of small businesses in western Azerbaijan
by introducing international banking practices,” said Bill Schrader, BP’s
President of Strategic Performance in Azerbaijan.
“This new project is part of a larger investment and capacity-building
program that IFC and BP have jointly financed and implemented in Azerbaijan
to support micro and small enterprises and to increase the impact of the
BTC pipeline on local firms and suppliers,” said Shahbaz Mavaddat, IFC
Director for Southern Europe and Central Asia.
“The grant will allow us to expand more rapidly in the western regions
of Azerbaijan, particularly in areas where local entrepreneurs have limited
access to finance and financial services,” said Andrew Pospielovsky, General
Manager of the Micro Finance Bank of Azerbaijan.
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 poor people 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 loan participations 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.
BP is the operator of Azerbaijan’s major oil and gas development and transportation
projects. It aims to double the value of contracts with Azerbaijani-owned
companies by 2010. It works to reach this goal through the Enterprise Centre
in Baku, which supports local small and medium enterprise development.
BP and its co-venturers are also funding the Supplier Finance Facility,
an important initiative that was established in partnership with IFC to
support local enterprise development and increase access to finance for
Azerbaijan's local oil and gas industry supplier and service enterprises.
BP is commited to the sustainable economic development of Azerbaijan. Through
its regional development initiative, community investment programs, and
educational sponsorships, the company is working to develop other initiatives
that encourage enterprise development to help the country diversify its
About the Micro Finance Bank of Azerbaijan
The Micro Finance Bank of Azerbaijan is owned by foreign shareholders,
including IFC, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, the
Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, and KfW, Germany’s development
bank. MFBA seeks to be the leading financial services provider to
Azerbaijan’s micro and small businesses, as well as its low- and medium-income
households.It offers high-quality, customer-oriented financial services
of European standards, including loans and savings products, credit/debit
cards, and money transfer and payment services.