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IFC Lays Foundations for Developing Leasing Sector in Afghanistan


Ahmed Badawi-Malik
Phone:  +1 (202) 458-7148

Cell:      +1 (202) 361-9175

Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:
Abadawi@ifc.org


KABUL/WASHINGTON, D.C., September 24, 2004 — The Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East (PEP-ME), a technical assistance program created, funded, and managed by the International Finance Corporation, has hosted a roundtable in Kabul on developing the financial leasing sector in Afghanistan. Decades of successive conflict left Afghanistan with a rudimentary financial sector, which it is now rebuilding.

A few private sector and state-owned commercial banks have been licensed or re-licensed recently to assume operations. But lending remains scarce. Developing new financial instruments such as leasing can help stimulate lending activity in Afghanistan. It also helps foster economic growth, and productivity and international competitiveness in key sectors of an economy such as agriculture, construction, and transportation. Leasing is also particularly well suited to small and medium enterprises. It gives them a flexible, timely, and cost-effective way to buy equipment.


Over thirty participants attended the roundtable, drawn from the Afghani government, business support institutions, the private sector, NGOs, and international organizations. Representatives of IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, presented their research on legislation, accounting, and taxation issues for the leasing sector. They also provide recommendations on the way forward to create a more favorable environment for leasing in Afghanistan.


Fritz Peter, Honorary Chair of the Lease Europe Association and founder of the Swiss Leasing Association, also spoke about leasing development in Europe.


Jesper Kjaer, general manager for PEP-ME, added, “Sharing international best practices and discussing local constraints with key stakeholders is a first step in helping Afghanistan design a sound regulatory framework. This is essential to attract local and international investors in the leasing sector.”


The Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East (PEP-ME), with start-up funding of $10 million from IFC, provides technical assistance to Afghanistan, Iraq, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen. PEP-ME focuses its technical assistance in those countries on improving the business and regulatory environment, strengthening financial institutions and markets, stimulating the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises, and assisting in the restructuring and privatization of state-owned enterprises.


The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.