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IFC Makes First Investment in Myanmar, Expanding Access to Finance and Creating Jobs

Yangon, Myanmar, January 23, 2013 – IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced its first investment in Myanmar to set up a new microfinance institution that aims to provide loans to more than 200,000 people – mostly micro and small businesses run by women – by 2020.
Together with KfW, a German government-owned development bank, and COFIBRED, a subsidiary of the French banking group BRED Banque Populaire, IFC will support Cambodia’s ACLEDA Bank Plc in establishing ACLEDA MFI Myanmar Co.
IFC will lend $2 million to ACLEDA Bank and the loan will be repaid with shares in ACLEDA MFI Myanmar, which is scheduled to begin operations this year. The new microfinance institution will help address the significant demand for financing from Myanmar’s small and medium enterprises.
“This is a key milestone of our long-term partnership with IFC,” said In Channy, chief executive officer of ACLEDA Bank, the largest Cambodian bank by assets. “As a leading microfinance provider in Cambodia, we are confident that we can leverage our extensive experience in providing affordable financing to serve Myanmar’s smaller enterprises and low-income households.”
Myanmar has one of the world’s most underdeveloped financial services industry as a result of the country’s decades of isolation. IFC’s investment is part of the World Bank Group’s joint interim strategy to revitalize Myanmar’s private sector and close its poverty gap by connecting people with markets and much-needed financing. IFC plans to use ACLEDA MFI Myanmar as a role model to develop similar microfinance institutions in other countries in the future.
“Our investment in a microfinance institution is a good start to our support for Myanmar’s economic reforms in order to improve access to finance, create more jobs and reduce poverty for its people,” said Sergio Pimenta, IFC’s director for East Asia and the Pacific. “Through ACLEDA MFI Myanmar, IFC will help scale up the country’s microfinance industry and increase access to financial services for both the urban and rural poor. This will help convince other players that affordable microfinance services can be delivered effectively in Myanmar.”
In addition to this investment, IFC will also support ACLEDA Bank in strengthening ACLEDA MFI Myanmar’s capacity in delivering microfinance services, enhancing its risk management practices, and developing a responsible finance strategy. ACLEDA Bank has been partnering with IFC since 1999, when the bank was at the time Cambodia’s largest microfinance institution. IFC’s financing and technical support have helped the bank expand its financial services to Lao People’s Democratic Republic and now Myanmar.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .
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About ACLEDA Bank Plc
ACLEDA Bank is one of Cambodia’s leading retail banks and the largest provider of micro credit. It has 238 branches and offices throughout Cambodia, 28 branches and offices in Lao PDR, and one branch in Myanmar with total assets of more than US$2 billion by end of December 2012. The bank has four subsidiaries, namely ACLEDA Bank Lao Ltd., ACLEDA Securities Plc, ACLEDA Training Center, and ACLEDA MFI Myanmar Co., Ltd. Strategically, it plans to expand its operations within the ASEAN region and in all potential countries along the Mekong River. ACLEDA was the first Cambodian bank to receive a credit rating from Standard & Poor and is rated B with a stable outlook. For more information, visit www.acledabank.com.kh .