The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement to provide US$2.5mn in medium-term debt financing to the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank.

The loan will broaden the bank’s funding base and support the growth of its small and medium enterprise portfolio.

Founded in 2001 by IFC, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft, KfW Entwicklungsbank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank has developed into one of the country’s leading providers of term finance to SMEs.

IFC holds a 20% stake in this full-service commercial bank, which operates as a closed joint stock company under the laws of the Kyrgyz Republic.

IFC’s director for financial markets, Jyrki Koskelo, states: “IFC financing comes at a key point for the bank and will enable it to scale up operations and provide a wide range of high-quality banking services for private companies.

“This investment underscores our confidence in the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank, which has successfully pioneered the introduction of medium and long-term lending to the domestic market.”

Shahbaz Mavaddat, IFC’s acting director for Southern Europe and Central Asia, adds: “IFC’s has invested in the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank with a view to promoting private sector development in the country. The bank is a key player in the financial sector, and its SME financing will have a positive impact on the whole economy.”

Kwang-Young Choi, chief executive officer of the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank, emphasizes: “The financing agreement with IFC constitutes a significant, long-term funding from an international institution and is backed by a government guarantee. This credit line underpins our ability to provide medium to long-term investment loans to the private sector.”