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IFC to Help First Microfinance Bank Offer Housing Loans in Afghanistan


In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: 202-2-461-4230
Email: Rmustafa@ifc.org

In Pakistan:


Syed Farhan Fasihuddin
Phone: 0092-21-561-0065 x 121

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.

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 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.