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IFC Helps Expand Access to Finance to Microentrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina


In Washington, D.C.:
Lotte Pang
Phone: +1 202 758 4290
E-mail: LPang@ifc.org

In Sarajevo:
Selma Rasavac
Phone: +387 33 251 555
E-mail: SRasavac@ifc.org

In Belgrade:
Slobodan Brkic
Phone: +381 11 3023 750
E-mail: SBrkic@ifc.org


Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, March 9, 2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a loan of up to €7 million to Microcredit Foundation EKI that will enable the company to expand its reach to microentrepreneurs in rural areas.

Microfinance plays a key role in alleviating poverty and creating jobs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. IFC’s subsequent loan is designed to support EKI’s successful microlending program, which targets micro and small enterprises that have little or no access to the formal financial system. The program is expected to disburse more than 4,200 new loans to microentrepreneurs by the end of 2011.
 
“This investment will enable us to increase financial support to lower-income people, which is particularly important during these times of financial stress,” said Sadina Bina, EKI’s Director. “It will also help strengthen EKI’s developmental role, as microfinance provides means and opportunities for people to generate additional income and improve their living standards.”

IFC’s loan will also be used to finance home-improvement projects, with up to €1 million supporting EKI’s Housing Refurbishment Loan Program that focuses on energy efficiency. Many houses were badly damaged by the war that ended in 1995; the program will provide loans for improvements and installation of energy-saving equipment.

Shahbaz Mavaddat, IFC Director for Southern Europe and Central Asia, said, “We are pleased to cooperate with EKI in addressing the financing needs of Bosnian entrepreneurs. The funding is expected to infuse medium-term liquidity to support EKI’s lending program and have a significant development impact on the country’s microfinance sector.”

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 EKI
EKI began operations in 1996 as a project of World Vision International, and today it is a leading microfinance institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina, serving about 53,000 clients. Its mission is to reduce the economic causes of poverty by providing loans and services targeted at small businesses, crafts, services and agricultural activities, mainly in rural areas. As of December 31, 2008, EKI had a net loan portfolio of $147 million and an equity base of $29 million. The institution has a network of 70 offices that covers the entire country. For more information, visit http://www.eki.ba.