IFC Grants $10m Loan to Uzbekistan’s Ipak Yuli Bank for SME Development, Women’s Economic Empowerment

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is allocating a $10 million loan to Uzbekistan’s Ipak Yuli Bank in a bid to bolster the bank’s lending initiatives directed at small and medium enterprises (SMEs), especially those owned by women.

The move is aimed at propelling inclusive economic growth in the nation.

Ipak Yuli Bank, known for its robust presence and extensive expertise in catering to SMEs, will utilize IFC’s financing to enhance its lending portfolio. This will enable the bank to deliver essential financing to SMEs, which are instrumental in spurring economic development and job generation in Uzbekistan.

A notable portion of the funds will be earmarked for businesses owned by women, underscoring the emphasis on promoting gender equality and the economic empowerment of women.

Saidabror Saydakhmedov, Chairman of the Management Board of Ipak Yuli Bank, expressed gratitude for IFC’s commitment, stating:

This loan fortifies our capacity to render critical financial resources to SMEs and, notably, women-owned businesses. It paves the way for their growth, employment creation, and a meaningful contribution to Uzbekistan’s overall economic advancement.

The financial aid aligns seamlessly with IFC’s dedication to endorsing sustainable and inclusive economic progression in Uzbekistan. By championing SMEs and female entrepreneurs, the IFC seeks to stimulate entrepreneurship, elevate productivity, and combat poverty.

Wiebke Schloemer, IFC Director for Türkiye and Central Asia, highlighted the indispensable role of smaller businesses in the economic landscape:

Many SMEs, especially those led by women, face challenges in securing financing. Our collaboration with Ipak Yuli Bank intends to bridge this financing void, thereby propelling inclusive economic growth and fortifying the position of female entrepreneurs.

This investment augments IFC’s ongoing relationship with Ipak Yuli Bank, a partnership that took root in 2018. Over the years, IFC has funneled $25 million into the bank, endorsing SMEs, inclusive of women-owned entities and micro-businesses engaged in trade.

The present funding stems from IFC’s Base of the Pyramid Program, a continuation of the Fast-Track COVID Facility inaugurated in 2021. This initiative is crafted to empower financial service providers to extend funding to smaller enterprises and impoverished households, mitigating the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Established in 1990, Ipak Yuli Bank stands as a premier commercial bank in Uzbekistan. It offers an extensive suite of banking services to SMEs, private entrepreneurs, and individual clients through its expansive network of 17 branches and 46 express centers spanning eight Uzbek regions.

A pivotal member of the World Bank Group, IFC is the apex global development institution focusing on the private sector within emerging markets. Active in over 100 nations, IFC utilizes its resources, acumen, and influence to craft markets and opportunities in developing territories.

Amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in the fiscal year 2021, IFC earmarked a record $31.5 billion to foster private endeavors and financial institutions in emerging markets, amplifying the role of the private sector in eradicating extreme poverty and fostering collective prosperity.

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