Dushanbe, May 29, 2007—IFC, the
private sector arm of the World Bank, and Tojiksodirotbonk the third-largest
joint stock commercial bank in Tajikistan, signed a cooperation agreement
last week to introduce new cotton lending products that will help southern
Tajikistan’s smaller farms grow through better access to capital, while
empowering women farmers.
IFC experts will work with Tojiksodirotbonk
staff to introduce a cotton lending product on a commercially viable basis
for small and midsize farmers in the Khatlon oblast. Efforts also
will include broadening the scope of the bank’s loan products to finance
long-fibered cotton in Kurgan Tyube, and expanding the loan program beyond
Kurgan Tyube. In addition to developing new financial products, the agreement
involves training aimed at building internal bank capabilities to meet
the needs of smaller farms. IFC will provide training on the specifics
of lending to smaller farms, borrower supervision, and lending review.
IFC and Tojiksodirotbonk will also develop a manual of cotton lending policies
and procedures for local farmers. A top priority is ensuring the
integration of women farm workers -- who represent as high as 80 percent
of farm employees on some of the Dekan farms -- into all project activities.
At the signing, Dr. Abdouakhad Ashourov,
Chairman of Tojiksodirotbonk’s board, said, “There is strong market demand
and government support for such lending products. By combining our
regional expertise in lending to larger farms with IFC’s expertise in
developing financial products for small businesses, we can create a quality
cotton lending product dedicated specifically to the growth of Tajikistan’s
smaller farms. ”
The agricultural sector, and cotton
production in particular, remains the largest employer in southern Tajikistan
and a critical part of the country’s economy. But industry development
is hindered by outdated agribusiness management skills, poor sector organization,
and limited access to finance. The new project will address these gaps
to enhance sector development as a whole, while providing strong benefits
for individual farm-based businesses.
Shahbaz Mavaddat, IFC Director for Southern
Europe and Central Asia, said, “I am very pleased that IFC is supporting
Tojiksodirotbonk’s efforts to expand its lending operations to the cotton
sector in southern Tajikistan. This cooperation agreement builds upon IFC’s
ongoing work to support the country’s financial and agricultural sectors.”
The project is part of the IFC Southern
Tajikistan Cotton Lending Program and is supported by the Government of
Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency.
IFC, the private sector arm of the World
Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.
IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners
in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people
have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06,
IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for
private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications
for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services
and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support
to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure,
to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance,
and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more
information, please visit www.ifc.org.
TSB was established in December 1990
as the Tajik branch of the Vnesh Econom Bank of the former Soviet Union,
and it initially specialized in trade and import-export banking. Later
this branch was reorganized into a Joint-Stock Commercial Bank, “Tajikvnesheconombank”.
In June 1999 the bank was renamed and registered as Tojiksodirotbonk or
TSB. Headquartered in Dushanbe, TSB has 9 branches in the main cities of
Tajikistan and covers all regions of the country. Its clients include the
biggest Tajik trading companies, other enterprises, entrepreneurs, and
some of the embassies and diplomatic organizations based in Dushanbe.