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IFC, Partners Support Small and Medium Enterprises in the Caucasus


In Tbilisi:
Tamar Barbakadze, IFC                                
Phone: +995 32 223 43 00/01/02                
E-mail: TBarbakadze@ifc.org

Tbilisi, Georgia, March 30, 2012—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, together with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Netherlands Development Bank (FMO), and Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), is supporting small and medium businesses in the Caucasus by investing in a new private equity fund.

IFC and its partner international financial institutions are initially providing $40 million, and Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF) is contributing an additional $2 million, to the SEAF Caucasus Growth Fund, with a target size of $70 million. The fund is the first professionally structured and managed private equity fund in the Caucasus region to provide debt and equity capital to small and medium enterprises in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.

Tomasz Telma, IFC Director for Europe and Central Asia, said, “Lack of capital is one of the most serious challenges for small and medium enterprises in the Southern Caucasus. Through this investment in the SEAF Caucasus Growth Fund, IFC is helping address an important obstacle to these small and medium enterprises, which represent the backbone of economic diversification and employment."

The fund will invest across a range of industries, with particular focus on consumer and business services, agribusiness, distribution and retail, all of which have been largely underserved by private equity providers.

This investment is part of IFC’s regional strategy in Europe and Central Asia to support small and medium enterprises. IFC works with banks, businesses, and governments to increase access to finance and improve the environment for small and medium enterprises, which account for a significant share of employment and overall economic activity in the region.

SEAF is a global fund manager with an extensive track record of developing local fund management capacity and providing growth and expansion capital to small and medium enterprises in emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

For more information about BSTDB, visit www.bstdb.org
For more information about EBRD, visit www.ebrd.com
For more information about FMO, visit www.fmo.nl
For more information about SEAF, visit www.seaf.ge

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