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European Bank of Reconstruction and Development funds women-owned businesses in Kazakstan

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In a three year credit deal, the EBRD is lending USD (not euros, which might seem weird) to Bank CenterCredit (BCC - no comments please). The total amount is for a maximum of USD45 million. Special provisions are made for businesses run by women.

* Three-year loan of up to USD40 million provided to domestic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
* Three-year loan of up to USD5 million under Kazakhstan Women in Business programme

Over 60 per cent of the loan will be used to support lending to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), particularly those run by women, outside the major cities of Astana and Almaty.

The EBRD says that Bank CenterCredit has been an active partner under the EBRD’s programmes for small businesses since 2014 with over 1,300 loans provided to individual businesses to date. It has also been participating in the Bank’s Kazakhstan Women in Business programme (Kaz WiB), under which CenterCredit has extended USD 20 million (in Kazakh tenge equivalent) to over 230 women-led businesses since 2015.

Consolidated efforts to support women’s entrepreneurship by the government of Kazakhstan, which has committed significant funds to Kaz WiB, and the EBRD translate into impressive numbers - over 41 per cent of SMEs in the country (equalling 640,000 enterprises) are led by women today.

The EBRD Kazakhstan Women in Business programme improves access to finance and advice for women-led SMEs, providing credit lines, risk mitigation and technical assistance to partner financial institutions to improve the supply of financing. The programme also offers advisory services alongside mentoring, longer-term coaching and workshops to provide women entrepreneurs with the knowledge and confidence to establish and grow their businesses.

The project benefited from technical cooperation funds provided through the EU Investment Facility for Central Asia.

In 2017 the EBRD approved its new country strategy for Kazakhstan and signed a three-year Partnership Framework Arrangement with the country aimed at the modernisation and diversification of the national economy.

For those who wonder where the money they send to the EU goes, according to the bank "To date, the EBRD has invested over USF 8,700 million in the economy of Kazakhstan."