IFC Invests in New Microfinance Bank to Help Pakistan’s Farmers Get Loans

Mar 2011
Islamabad, Pakistan, March, 16 2011 - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is improving access to finance for Pakistan's farmers by investing to transform microcredit operations of the National Rural Support Program-one of the country's leading microfinance institutions-into a regulated, deposit-taking microfinance bank.

IFC will acquire up to 16 percent stake in the new NRSP Microfinance Bank to support the bank's operation of providing farmers with access to crop and livestock loans, develop deposit products to encourage savings, and enhance the range and penetration of financial services in rural Pakistan.

"NRSP Microfinance Bank's mission is to reduce the effects of poverty by giving the country's poor timely access to commercially viable financial products and services. The bank's primary credit products are small loans for farmers to buy seeds, pesticide and fertilizers, livestock loans, and microenterprise development loans," IFC said.

"NRSP will not only provide a full suite of financial services to low-income clients in rural areas, but will also underscore that a commercial approach to microfinance is critical to maximizing outreach and effectively supporting the entrepreneurial activities of the poor," said Dr. Rashid Bajwa, Chairman of NRSP Microfinance Bank's board of directors.

NRSP Microfinance Bank will begin operations with a 40-branch network, seasoned staff, and over the next seven years expects to reach nearly 625,000 borrowers. Co-investors in the project include Acumen Fund and Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau.

"This project will help the many small farmers that make up Pakistan's vital agricultural sector," said Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC Director for the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Europe. "In this time of rapidly rising global food prices, providing access to finance for the world's farmers is more important than ever."

Source : The Financial

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