Dushanbe, Tajikistan, August 18, 2008—Lars
Thunell, Executive Vice President and CEO of IFC, a member of the World
Bank Group, said that IFC will continue to support private sector growth
in Tajikistan through its advisory work in microfinance, corporate governance,
mortgage lending, leasing, and small business development. Concluding an
official visit to the country on August 16, Thunell also emphasized IFC’s
aim to expand its investment portfolio, seeking new opportunities in such
areas as hydropower and agribusiness.
This was Thunell’s first official visit
to Tajikistan since joining IFC in 2006. He met with President Emomali
Rahmon to discuss issues and opportunities for cooperation in promoting
the country’s economic growth. “Last winter’s electricity shortages
made clear how fragile power generation is in Tajikistan. IFC is supporting
increased private investment in the sector to develop the country’s hydropower
potential.” Thunell said. “Agribusiness is another priority area for
us, as the country is increasingly exposed to rising food prices.”
Thunell met with the management of IFC
clients Eskhata Bank, First MicroFinance Bank, IMON Microfinance, and Tojiksodirotbonk.
These financial institutions recently signed loan agreements with IFC that
will help expand financial services to small businesses and farmers in
Thunell also visited shareholders of
the SugdAgroServ, an innovative finance and marketing cooperative for small
farmers in Khujand that was launched in 2002 with help from IFC and the
Swiss government. Since then, the cooperative has provided nearly $5 million
in financing for its 1,000 shareholders.
Since Tajikistan became an IFC member
in 1995, IFC has financed more than 17 projects totaling over $30 million.
In the last few years, IFC has spent about $2 million a year in advisory
services locally. In fiscal 2008, IFC committed $17 million in financing
to private sector clients in the country.
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.