The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) said on June 15 that it will provide $25mn to Kazakhstan’s leading microfinance organisation KMF to enable it to further support its 217,000 customers, mostly in rural and remote areas, via its 14 branches and 110 outlets.
The funding will help businesses recover from the economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, resume operations and adapt to the post-crisis environment. Denominated in Kazakh tenge, the financing package will support KMF's lending programme to micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) across sectors - especially those operating in the underserved regions. MSMEs contribute more than 27% of Kazakhstan's gross domestic product (GDP).
"Given the economic challenges of an ongoing global pandemic, we welcome IFC's timely support. Though our clients are slowly recovering, they lack working capital financing. Thus, IFC's funding will potentially be in demand for 180,000 of our clients. This will also help contribute to increased business activity, accelerating economic recovery in Kazakhstan," said Shalkar Zhussupov, chairman of the management board of KMF.
Cassandra Colbert, IFC regional manager for Central Asia, said, "We are delighted to continue our long-standing relationship with KMF, as the microfinance sector in general strives to continue to support small and medium size enterprises affected by the pandemic. Small businesses are essential to economic growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation. Our investment in Kazakhstan will help provide much-needed financing at a crucial time for businesses."
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