Press Releases

IFC Helps Expand Access to Finance to Women Entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina

In Washington, D.C.:
Lotte Pang
Phone: +1 202 758 4290

In Sarajevo:
Selma Rasavac
Phone: +387 33 251 555

In Belgrade:
Slobodan Brkic
Phone: +381 11 3023 750

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 17, 2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a credit line of up to EUR 4 million to MI-BOSPO to help the company expand its reach to women entrepreneurs.

Microfinance plays a key role in alleviating poverty and creating jobs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. IFC’s loan is designed to support MI-BOSPO’s successful microlending program, which targets women microentrepreneurs who have little or no access to the formal financial system. This investment will make a significant contribution to poverty reduction, with the loan expected to reach an estimated 3,000 women entrepreneurs by the end of 2011.

“This loan will enable us to increase financial support to the lower-income women entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is particularly important during the current financial crisis,” said Nejira Nalic, Director of MI-BOSPO. “It will also help strengthen our developmental role, as microfinance provides means and opportunities for Bosnian women to generate additional income and improve their living standards.”

Women make up nearly 52 percent of the country’s working-age population but their labor force participation rate is only 43 percent. Through this loan, MI-BOSPO will continue to provide credit to the underserved while seeking to raise awareness about the valuable role women can play in mainstream economic activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. IFC also is providing governance advice to MI-BOSPO.

Shahbaz Mavaddat, IFC Director for Southern Europe and Central Asia, said, “We are pleased to cooperate with MI-BOSPO in addressing the financing needs of women entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The funding is expected to infuse additional liquidity to support MI-BOSPO’s lending program. Microfinance is critical for poverty alleviation during the current crisis as many women affected by the war are the sole income generators in their families.”

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 $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit

MI-BOSPO is a leading microcredit organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina targeting women. Its mission is to empower women economically in the belief that economically empowered women can better

influence social change and contribute to better quality of life within the family. MI-BOSPO was founded by the Bosnian humanitarian organization, the Bosnian Committee for Help that started microlending activities in March 1996, with the assistance of the World Bank and the Danish Refugee Council. In 1999, Mi-Bospo became an affiliate of Women’s World Banking, through which the company receives support, advice, training, and information. For more information, visit