Tbilisi, Georgia, August 8, 2019—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, announced today a long-term local currency
loan of 100 million Georgian lari (about $35 million) to Bank of Georgia
to help boost access to finance for smaller businesses and women entrepreneurs.
The investment is supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility,
a pioneering global initiative by IFC and the Goldman Sachs Foundation
to expand access to capital for women entrepreneurs.
Access to finance is the second most-cited
problem for businesses in Georgia, according to the World Economic Forum’s
Competitiveness Index 2017-2018.
While small and medium enterprises (SMEs) make up the majority of Georgian
businesses, they receive only about 20 percent of bank lending. IFC estimates
the total finance gap for SMEs in Georgia at $2.1 billion, with demand
from women-owned enterprises accounting for 43 percent of the gap, according
to the 2017
MSME Finance Gap Report.
IFC’s investment aims to address this by
helping Bank of Georgia expand its crucial local currency lending to micro,
small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), with a quarter of the loan earmarked
for women-owned businesses.
Archil Gachechiladze, Bank of Georgia CEO,
said: “Amid further de-dollarization of the Georgian economy, the local
currency facility from IFC will further strengthen our position as a leading
local currency lender in the Georgian market and enable us to increase
lending to the MSME business segment, where we see significant opportunities.
The Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility is an important tool that
will help us boost our support to female-led enterprises.”
Jan van Bilsen, IFC Regional Manager for
the South Caucasus, said: “IFC is working with Bank of Georgia, our long-standing
client, to help expand access to local currency financing, which is critical
for the growth of smaller businesses. Those businesses are the engines
of economic growth and women entrepreneurs are especially underserved.
We aim to ensure all smaller firms get the access to finance they need
to grow, create jobs, and drive economic growth.”
The Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility
was launched by IFC through its Banking
on Women program and Goldman Sachs
10,000 Women in 2014. To date, IFC has invested $1.4 billion and
reached 53,000 women entrepreneurs in emerging markets through the Facility.
“We are committed to expanding access to
finance and business education for women-owned businesses. This partnership
allows us to work with an experienced local institution to help more women-owned
enterprises grow and close the $2.1 billion finance gap in Georgia,” said
Cristina Shapiro, Global Director of Goldman
Sachs 10,000 Women.
IFC’s Banking on Women program provides
financing and advice to financial institutions to help them acquire and
profitably finance women-owned SME and retail customers. The first loan
in Georgia under the program was to Bank of Georgia in 2012 and helped
the bank increase its lending to women SME owners. To date, women-led and
women-held businesses represent about 20 percent of the bank’s MSME loans
portfolio. Bank of Georgia is working to increase this by helping its clients
get the advice and training they need to expand.
Georgia became an IFC member and shareholder
in 1995. Since then, IFC has provided around $1.98 billion in long-term
financing, of which nearly $980 million was mobilized from partners, in
61 projects in financial services, agribusiness, manufacturing, and infrastructure.
In addition, IFC has supported more than $394 million in trade through
its trade finance program, and implemented a number of advisory projects
focused on developing the private sector.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank
and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution
focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than
2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence
to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world.
In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing
for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to
end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information,
About Bank of Georgia Group PLC
Bank of Georgia Group PLC ("Bank of
Georgia Group" or the "Group" - LSE: BGEO LN) is a UK incorporated
holding company, which comprises: a) retail banking and payment services,
b) corporate and investment banking and wealth management operations and
c) banking operations in Belarus ("BNB"). JSC Bank of Georgia
("Bank of Georgia", "BOG" or the "Bank"),
the leading universal bank in Georgia, is the core entity of the Group.
The Group targets to benefit from superior growth of the Georgian economy
through both its retail banking and corporate and investment banking services
and aims to deliver on its strategy, which is based on at least 20% ROAE
and c.15% growth of its loan book. For further information, please visit
About Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women is an initiative
to foster economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs around the world
with a business and management education and access to capital. The initiative
has reached women from 56 countries through a network of 100 academic,
nonprofit, and bank partners. In partnership with the International Finance
Corporation (IFC), Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women launched the first
of its kind global finance facility in 2014 to enable access to capital
to more women entrepreneurs. And now, in its tenth year, the 10,000
Women curriculum is available online through Coursera, creating access
to a business education in more corners of the world. For more information
on Goldman Sachs’ investment in female entrepreneurs, visit https://www.goldmansachs.com/citizenship/10000women/