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IFC Helps Strengthen Financial Infrastructure in Azerbaijan to Improve Access to Finance for Small Businesses

Baku, Azerbaijan, February 4, 2016— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is launching the third phase of an advisory project to help strengthen Azerbaijan’s financial infrastructure and improve access to finance for businesses, especially small enterprises, assisting them to remain stable amid the recent local currency devaluation, and continue to grow and create jobs.
The Azerbaijan-Central Asia Financial Markets Infrastructure Project III, implemented by the World Bank Group, is funded by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Over the next three years, the project will help create a private credit bureau in Azerbaijan, with an efficient credit information sharing system to reduce default rates and expand lending. Given the growing demand caused by labor migration, the project will also help improve credit information flow across other emerging economies in the region.
In addition, the project will continue to promote movable asset-based lending in Azerbaijan to allow smaller businesses to use assets like machinery, crops, and receivables as collateral for loans from financial institutions.
“Access to finance is one of the foundations of private sector growth. Recent developments highlight the importance of continuing reforms to help reduce risks and strengthen the financial sector, alongside broader business environment reforms,” said Aliya Azimova, IFC Country Representative in Azerbaijan. “We aim to help create an efficient credit information sharing system and leverage the value of movable assets to open up new opportunities for private sector growth in Azerbaijan.”
Preparation for creating the private credit bureau was undertaken alongside Azerbaijan’s leading financial institutions during the project’s previous two phases in 2009-2015. The project’s team also worked with Azerbaijan’s government on legislation to reform the credit information sharing system and enable movable asset-based lending. Both legislative packages are currently being reviewed by government bodies, before being submitted for approval by Parliament.
Azerbaijan became a member of IFC in 1995. Since then, IFC has invested more than $390 million in 55 long-term projects across a range of sectors, including financial services, infrastructure, and manufacturing sectors, and mobilized nearly $73 million from other lenders. IFC also supports cross-border trade in Azerbaijan with an average outstanding balance of $3.2 million in trade finance in FY15. In addition, IFC has implemented a range of advisory projects aimed at encouraging private sector growth.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence, to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit .
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