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L. Joseph
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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24—On Monday, June 23, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) signed a loan agreement in Almaty, Kazakstan, to provide a US$30 million credit facility to Kazkommertsbank, one of Kazakstan's largest private commercial banks. The credit line will be used to provide loans to private businesses — including small and medium enterprises to finance their expansion and modernization and to produce and export Kazak products.

The IFC credit facility will consist of a US$10 million loan for IFC's own account and an additional US$20 million loan syndicated with international financial institutions.

Kazkommertsbank, which was established in 1992, is expected to target investments in sectors such as manufacturing, construction, transport, services and resource-based industries. The bank specializes in providing trade finance and related services to primarily export-oriented companies and has recently begun to develop its project finance operations.

"This is IFC's first loan to a domestic Kazak bank," said Mr. Andr, Hovaguimian, Director of IFC's Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa Department. "The line of credit is designed to help privately-owned Kazak enterprises to replace or modernize plants and equipment or expand their scale of operations. The restructuring of the Kazak banking sector is a critical component of Kazakstan's economic reforms and this loan will also help the sector play an effective role in the development of the country. IFC expects that the example set by Kazkommertsbank's progress to international standards will reinforce the efforts of other Kazak banks in this direction."

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral source of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing and emerging economies.