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IFC Boosts Support for MSEs and Women-Owned Businesses in Kazakhstan

• IFC provides $9 million financing to Arnur Credit

• 50 percent of the proceeds committed to women-owned businesses

IFC is investing in one of Kazakhstan’s leading microfinance institutions to boost its financing for micro and small enterprises (MSEs), with a focus on women-owned businesses and smaller businesses in the country’s underserved southern frontier regions.

IFC’s $9 million investment to “MFO “Arnur Credit” LLP (hereinafter – Arnur Credit), the country's seventh-largest microfinance institution, will be allocated to rural-based MSEs, with half earmarked for women-owned micro and smaller businesses. With 44 sub-offices, Arnur Credit has established a wide reach across the country’s Kyzylorda, Turkistan, Zhambyl and Almaty regions as well as in Almaty and Shymkent cities. That has enabled the organization to serve smaller businesses and farmers in remote and rural areas, where financial services are often limited, helping to promote economic development.

“Our partnership with IFC will provide a significant boost to smaller business owners and entrepreneurs in areas that have traditionally been underserved,” said Raushan Kurbanaliyeva, Arnur Credit’s Chair of the Management Board. “Small businesses are the backbone of the local economy, especially in these more rural areas, and their success has a significant impact on job creation and economic development.”

The project is aligned with IFC’s strategy in Kazakhstan to boost private sector-led growth through support to the financial sector and investments in manufacturing, infrastructure, and the service sector.

Zafar Khashimov, Interim Manager for Central Asia, said: “IFC's investment highlights our commitment to promoting inclusive economic growth by enhancing financial access for smaller businesses and rural communities. We also recognize the importance of directing at least half of our funds to women entrepreneurs, who are critical in promoting economic activity and driving economic growth in Kazakhstan.”

In Central Asia, IFC has been ramping up its work to expand financial services and market access for women-led firms. Since 2018, has invested $155 million in 15 local financial institutions across the region.