IFC, Imon International to Expand MSME Finance in Tajikistan

Feb 2015
Tajikistan, February, 10 2015 - The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has mobilized $16.5 million, including $5 million from its own account, for IMON International, Tajikistan’s leading microfinance institution, to boost lending to micro, small, and medium enterprises in the country’s remote and rural areas.

According to the IFC Dushanbe Office, the local currency loan is IFC’s first parallel financing in Tajikistan.  It will be complimented by investments mobilized by IFC from PROPARCO, a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), which is making its first private sector investment in the country.

“Our long-standing partnership with IFC was critical for attracting additional financing as it proved our sustainability and viability,” said Sanavbar Sharipova, IMON International’s CEO.  “With this financing package, we will be able to increase our credit and other product offerings for farmers, small businesses, and female entrepreneurs in Tajikistan.”

Marie-Helene Loison, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Operations at PROPARCO, welcomed “the joint operation with IFC to support IMON International, which represents PROPARCO’s first investment in Tajikistan.  We are very proud to be contributing to strengthening a local microfinance institution simultaneously engaged in a social mission and committed to its financial performance, and more widely to be supporting a key sector for economic growth and financial inclusion in the country.”

“IFC promotes development by mobilizing financing for the private sector, which is what differentiates us from commercial financiers,” said Edward Strawderman, Regional Head of Industry, IFC EMENA Financial Institutions Group.  “This parallel financing will support IMON's overall growth strategy to diversify and increase the volume of its funding, better manage foreign currency risks, and meet the local currency funding needs of its borrowers.

In Tajikistan, IFC makes local currency loans using a swap facility established with the National Bank of Tajikistan.  Under this agreement, the IFC and Proparco investments will be hedged by converting U.S. dollar-denominated borrowings into the Tajik somoni, while OFID’s loan is being provided in U.S. dollars.  By borrowing in their currency of revenue, which is scarce in the local market, Imon International is protected from currency risk.

Since 2008, IFC has provided funds to IMON International totaling $12.5 million to boost lending to small businesses.  These investments were accompanied by advisory services to develop and expand its product range, improve its risk management practices, including environmental and social risks, and assist its transformation into a deposit-taking institution.  As a result, IMON successfully launched and rolled out deposit operations in 2013.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector.  Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, the IFC uses its capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, it provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development.  

Source : ASIA-Plus

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