For Immediate Release
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and AccessBank and DemirBank today announced a new 5-year collaboration that will make available up to $3.3 million in local currency financing for micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) in Azerbaijan, with a portion of the funding dedicated to the agriculture sector.
Commercial banks in Azerbaijan are attempting to diversify their lending portfolios and are interested in expanding into the MSME market, especially in agriculture. However, potential borrowers in this sector are sometimes unable to meet high collateral requirements and, therefore, have difficulty accessing finance required to develop and grow. USAID’s collaboration with AccessBank and DemirBank will not only decrease collateral requirements for MSMEs, but will also assist Azerbaijan in the development of non-oil sectors and strengthen the country’s food security.
"We at USAID are proud to encourage private sector lending in key sectors that are vital to economic development," said USAID Caucasus Regional Mission Director Jonathan Conly. "Increasing access to credit enables individuals to improve their own lives and spur further economic growth, especially in agriculture, in the regions,” Conly noted, adding that development of the non-oil sectors is key to Azerbaijan’s future development.
“AccessBank is already the leading micro and small business bank in Azerbaijan, providing financing to over 90,000 business clients, as well as the leading agricultural lender with over 35,000 clients“, said AccessBank CEO Andrew Pospielovsky. “This new tool will help AccessBank to further expand its agricultural lending, especially in the regions of Azerbaijan”.
“This program is extremely relevant in terms of development of entrepreneurship in rural areas, increase of employment and improvement of well-being among local population”, said DemirBank Chairman Roman Amirjanov. “We trust that this program will be a great asset in development of agricultural sector”.
USAID’s Development Credit Authority works with financial institutions to open up existing sources of local finance that can be used to invest in underserved markets to achieve development results.
Last updated: November 17, 2014