Islamabad, Pakistan, March15, 2011—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, is improving access to finance for Pakistan’s
farmers by investing to transform microcredit operations of the National
Rural Support Program—one of the country’s leading microfinance institutions—into
a regulated, deposit-taking microfinance bank.
IFC will acquire up to 16 percent stake
in the new NRSP Microfinance Bank to support the bank’s operation of providing
farmers with access to crop and livestock loans, develop deposit products
to encourage savings, and enhance the range and penetration of financial
services in rural Pakistan.
NRSP Microfinance Bank’s mission is
to reduce the effects of poverty by giving the country’s poor timely access
to commercially viable financial products and services. The bank’s primary
credit products are small loans for farmers to buy seeds, pesticide and
fertilizers, livestock loans, and microenterprise development loans.
“NRSP will not only provide a full
suite of financial services to low-income clients in rural areas, but will
also underscore that a commercial approach to microfinance is critical
to maximizing outreach and effectively supporting the entrepreneurial activities
of the poor,” said Dr. Rashid Bajwa, Chairman of NRSP Microfinance Bank’s
board of directors.
NRSP Microfinance Bank will begin operations
with a 40-branch network, seasoned staff, and over the next seven years
expects to reach nearly 625,000 borrowers. Co-investors in the project
include Acumen Fund and Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau.
“This project will help the many small
farmers that make up Pakistan’s vital agricultural sector,” said Dimitris
Tsitsiragos, IFC Director for the Middle East, North Africa and Southern
Europe. “In this time of rapidly rising global food prices, providing
access to finance for the world’s farmers is more important than ever.”
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector
in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty
and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses
employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital
from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable
development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments
climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit