Baku, Azerbaijan, July 10, 2008—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, and BP Oil Company on behalf of its co-ventures
have partnered with the Micro Finance Bank of Azerbaijan to expand microfinance
services to Azerbaijan’s distant rural regions. This month, the
bank, which is also an IFC client, opened its sixteenth local branch in
the city of Mingachevir. The new branch will offer a full range of microfinance
business and retail banking products, including financing, deposit accounts,
credit card services, and domestic and international money transfers.
In addition to Baku, the Micro Finance
Bank of Azerbaijan has branches in Gandja, Lankaran, Gazakh, Khachmaz,
Sheki, and Sumgayit that provide banking services to distant rural regions
of Azerbaijan. The new Mingachevir branch is the third branch to
be launched with IFC support.
“The opening of the new branch is an
important step in the general strategy of the bank to increase access to
financial services for micro and small businesses and the general population
of Azerbaijan. This is a priority for both the bank and our shareholders—to
increase access to financial services and develop the non-oil sectors of
the local economy,” said Andrew Pospielovsky, General Manager of the Micro
Finance Bank of Azerbaijan.
“This project is one of the very few
examples in the world where the expansion of microfinance to distant rural
regions is funded by a private entity, in this case, BP. IFC has a long-term
partnership with BP and the Micro Finance Bank of Azerbaijan to support
sustainable growth by providing access to finance for micro and small enterprises
in rural regions,” said Ivan Ivanov, IFC Senior Operations Officer for
Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
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 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
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.