The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will invest in a 16% stake in BRAC Afghanistan Bank, a start-up full service commercial bank that will focus on micro and small enterprise loans, and institutional and retail deposit accounts in Afghanistan.

IFC is investing up to US$1mn in equity and will also consider providing a technical assistance programme to support BRAC Afghanistan Bank’s operations. One of the largest microfinance non-profit institutions in Bangladesh, BRAC is taking the lead in establishing the bank. Other shareholders are ShoreCap International and Stichting Triodos Doen. The CEO of the new bank, Ehsanul Haque, was the CEO of BRAC Bank Bangladesh, of which IFC is also a shareholder. Haque brings extensive experience in small and medium enterprise banking.