Kabul, Afghanistan, October 8,
2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, signed an agreement with
the First Microfinance Bank of Afghanistan to help strengthen the bank’s
capacity to introduce a product line that will address the housing needs
of low- and middle-income Afghanis.
Most microfinance institutions in Afghanistan do not offer housing loans,
and traditional housing finance is limited because the legal and regulatory
infrastructure does not support mortgage lending. To bridge this gap, IFC
and the bank will join forces to ensure that low- and middle-income families
and individuals have access to affordable housing loans. IFC plans to recruit
an advisor to work closely with the bank to develop sound operational policies
and guidelines necessary for building a sustainable housing portfolio.
Muslim-ul-Haq, CEO of First Microfinance
Bank of Afghanistan, said, “We are confident that with IFC’s advisory
services we can offer products that help meet the housing needs of the
majority of Afghanis who currently do not have access to housing finance.”
Syed Farhan Fasihuddin, IFC Manager
for Housing Finance Advisory Services in Middle East and North Africa,
said: “Our aim is to improve the living standards of people in Afghanistan’s
economically challenged communities. We hope to build on our long-term
relationship with the First Microfinance Bank of Afghanistan in our effort
to achieve this objective.”
In 2007, IFC conducted a study of Afghanistan’s
housing sector, in collaboration with the World Bank, and recommended expanding
the availability of mortgages and microfinance loans for housing.
IFC helped establish First Microfinance
Bank of Afghanistan in 2002, through an equity investment of $1 million.
Recently, IFC furthered the relationship with the bank by extending a long-term
loan of $4.5 million to support its expansion activities in microfinance,
housing finance, and lending to small and medium enterprises.
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 www.ifc.org.
About First MicrofinanceBank of Afghanistan
The First Microfinance Bank of Afghanistan
is a limited-liability company in Afghanistan. It is the country’s leading
financial-services provider. The bank contributes to poverty alleviation
and economic development by providing sustainable financial services that
targets micro and small businesses and individual households.