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IFC Provides Local Currency Finance to Bank of Georgia to Support Smaller Businesses and Women Entrepreneurs

Tbilisi, Georgia, February 6, 2020 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing 100 million Georgian lari (approximately $35 million) as a long-term local currency loan to Bank of Georgia to help finance small businesses and women entrepreneurs. The investment is supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, a global initiative by IFC and the Goldman Sachs Foundation to expand access to capital for women entrepreneurs.
IFC—in its 2017 MSME Finance Gap Report —estimates the total finance gap for SMEs in Georgia at around $2.1 billion, with women-owned enterprises accounting for significant share. IFC’s investment will help to address this gap by helping Bank of Georgia expand local-currency lending to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), with a quarter of the financing earmarked for women-owned businesses. This is IFC’s second loan to Bank of Georgia in the past six months. In August 2019, IFC with support from the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility provided a local currency loan of 100 million Georgian lari to support MSMEs and women entrepreneurs.
Sulkhan Gvalia, Chief Financial Officer of Bank of Georgia, said: “Bank of Georgia and IFC continue working on local currency facilities. I would like to thank our partners for being reliable supporters and advocates of local currency lending to MSMEs in the country through Bank of Georgia. On the back of further de-dollarization of the Georgian economy, this local currency facility will further strengthen our position as a leading local currency lender on the Georgian market.”
Jan van Bilsen, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus, said, “Our continued cooperation with Bank of Georgia will help address one of the key barriers to private sector development in Georgia—access to local currency financing. This project is another step forward in supporting small businesses, which represent the backbone of the country’s economy.”
While IFC provides financial resources, the World Bank is supporting the government’s efforts aimed at enhancing access to finance for MSMEs through legal and regulatory reforms in the area of credit-market infrastructure, development of the capital market and fintech innovations, and reinforcement of responsible financial inclusion framework.
“Women entrepreneurs have real potential to impact future growth in emerging markets, which is why we are focused on closing gaps in access to finance and education for women-owned businesses,” said Charlotte Keenan, Global Director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women . “We are pleased to continue to support the Bank of Georgia as it expands lending to women-owned businesses and helps to close the $2.1 billion finance gap in Georgia.”
The Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility was launched by IFC through its Banking on Women program and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women in 2014. To date, IFC has invested $1.76 billion and reached 53,000 women entrepreneurs in emerging markets through this facility.
Georgia became an IFC member and shareholder in 1995. Since then, IFC has provided around $1.98 billion in long-term financing—$980 million of which was mobilized from partners—in 61 projects in financial services, agribusiness, manufacturing, and infrastructure. In addition, IFC has supported more than $394 million in trade through its trade finance program and implemented a number of advisory projects focused on developing the private sector.
About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most. In fiscal year 2019, we delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
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About Bank of Georgia Group PLC
Bank of Georgia Group PLC ("Bank of Georgia Group" or the "Group"—LSE: BGEO LN) is a UK incorporated holding company, which comprises: a) retail banking and payment services, b) corporate and investment banking and wealth management operations and c) banking operations in Belarus ("BNB"). JSC Bank of Georgia ("Bank of Georgia", "BOG" or the "Bank"), the leading universal bank in Georgia, is the core entity of the Group. The Group targets to benefit from superior growth of the Georgian economy through both its retail banking and corporate and investment banking services and aims to deliver on its strategy, which is based on at least 20 percent ROAE and 15 percent growth of its loan book. For further information, please visit www.bankofgeorgiagroup.com
About Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women is an initiative to foster economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs around the world with a business and management education and access to capital. The initiative has reached women from over 100 countries through a network of academic, nonprofit, and bank partners. In partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women launched the first of its kind global finance facility in 2014 to enable access to capital to more women entrepreneurs. And now, in its tenth year, the 10,000 Women curriculum is available online through Coursera, creating access to a business education in more corners of the world. For more information on Goldman Sachs’ investment in female entrepreneurs, visit https://www.goldmansachs.com/citizenship/10000women/