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IFC Signs Agreement with National Bank to Provide Local Currency Loans in Belarus


In Minsk:
Nadezhda Sinelnik

Phone: +375 17 298 3194

E-mail:
nsinelnik@ifc.org

In Moscow:

Nezhdana Bukova

Phone: +7 985 411 3986

E-mail:
nbukova@ifc.org


Minsk, Belarus, April 2, 2010—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has signed a swap agreement with National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, to provide local currency loans to Belarusian companies, mitigate exchange rate risks, and support growth of the country’s private sector.

Access to long-term local currency will allow IFC to extend long-term loans to companies that do not generate foreign exchange revenues and cannot take on risks associated with borrowing in dollars or other international currencies. Swaps are a critical part of a robust financial system.


“Through this initiative, the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus and IFC will work together to further develop Belarus’ financial market to support private sector growth and promote sustainable economic growth,” said Petr Prokopovich, Chairman of the Board of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. “We are committed to working with partners such as IFC to develop vibrant and efficient capital markets in the country.”


“IFC is delighted to launch this initiative in partnership with the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus,” said Nina Shapiro, IFC Vice President for Finance and Treasurer. “We look forward to helping develop a long-term commercial swap market in Belarus that will support the sustainable growth of the private sector.”


Snezana Stoiljkovic, IFC Director for Europe and Central Asia, said, "Access to local currency finance is critical for the growth of the economy and small and medium enterprises as they rarely have the capacity to bear foreign exchange risks. In the wake of the global financial crisis, the support and attention of the National Bank to this issue demonstrates commitment to developing a healthy economy."


Belarus joined IFC in 1992. IFC has been actively involved in advisory services in the country since 1993, starting with the privatization of small businesses. Currently, IFC focuses its efforts on business environment and investment climate improvement. From 2004 through February 2010, IFC has committed about $250 million in loans and invested in a number of projects in Belarus.

IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by helping strengthen financial systems by reducing interest-rate risks.

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 $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus

The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus is the central bank and a government agency of the Republic of Belarus. The main objectives of the National Bank are protecting the Belarusian ruble and ensuring its stability, including its purchasing power and the exchange rate relative to foreign currencies, developing and strengthening the banking system of the Republic of Belarus; and ensuring efficient, reliable, and secure functioning of the payment system. For more information visit:
www.nbrb.by.