IFC Achieves Record Investment in Central Asia Amid Geopolitical Challenges

In a notable demonstration of faith in Central Asia’s growth potential, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has invested and mobilized a staggering $1.6 billion in the region during fiscal year 2023 (FY23).

This investment, the highest ever for IFC in the region, was aimed at promoting growth, enhancing regional connectivity, and building climate resilience.

Uzbekistan, housing IFC’s most substantial portfolio in Central Asia, saw a remarkable commitment of $1.568 billion, marking its most considerable inflow since IFC commenced operations in 1993. A significant chunk of this fund, $49 million, is dedicated to the Zarafshon wind power project, expected to become operational by 2025.

Additionally, the Syrdarya region will witness the birth of a state-of-the-art thermal power plant, backed by a robust $150 million financing package from IFC, along with a mobilization of close to $1 billion.

In neighboring Kazakhstan, IFC strengthened its focus on agribusiness and microfinance. The nation’s top agribusiness group, KazFoodProducts, received a boost of $15 million to catalyze growth and foster food security.

A further $20 million was loaned to KMF, a prominent microfinance organization, empowering 247,000 micro and medium enterprises. The Almaty Ring Road, Central Asia’s pioneering PPP project, was completed with IFC’s support, which promises to enhance the country’s transit capabilities significantly.

The Kyrgyz Republic saw IFC taking on the role of the lead transaction advisor. The nation is set to diversify its energy palette with a proposed 150-megawatt solar plant under the Scaling Solar program, and IFC’s expertise will be central in structuring and tendering this venture.

Parallelly, efforts are underway for a competitive PPP tender for Manas International Airport’s infrastructure. IFC’s dedication to gender equity was evident as they invested over $35 million to bolster women-owned microenterprises, positively impacting nearly 200,000 low-income individuals.

Tajikistan also benefited from IFC’s commitment, with financial institutions like Imon International and Eskhata Bank receiving a total of $15 million to support thousands of MSMEs.

Commenting on this substantial financial foray, Wiebke Schloemer, IFC’s Director for Türkiye and Central Asia, noted, “The private sector remains a robust engine for socio-economic growth. Our recent endeavors in Central Asia underscore this belief.”

As the global landscape continually evolves, IFC remains steadfast in its mission. Their forthcoming strategy emphasizes pivotal sectors like agribusiness, infrastructure, and financial services, with sustainability and climate change adaptation at its heart.

IFC is a global development institution devoted to the private sector in emerging markets. Operating in over 100 nations, IFC’s expertise has played a pivotal role in shaping markets and crafting opportunities in developing countries. Their commitment of a record $43.7 billion in FY23 is a testament to their mission of harnessing the private sector’s prowess to address the mounting challenges of global compounding crises.

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