The FINANCIAL — The EBRD is stepping up its reengagement in Uzbekistan with the provision of a financial package of up to US$ 30 million to JSCB Hamkorbank, the country’s largest privately-owned commercial bank.
The loan will facilitate better access to finance for small private businesses (SMEs) and promote trade operations in Uzbekistan and the region, according to the EBRD.
The transaction will consist of a US$ 20 million loan to Hamkorbank to support its lending operations with local micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, the EBRD will also provide a limit of up to US$10 million under its Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) to assist Hamkorbank’s international trade transactions, widen correspondent banking network and strengthen its trade finance product range .
With a network of 32 branches and 177 service outlets across the country, Hamkorbank is well positioned to provide much-needed finance to smaller businesses in Uzbekistan, especially in rural areas.
Alkis Vyrenios Drakinos, EBRD Head of Uzbekistan, said: “We have known Hamkorbank for almost two decades and we are very pleased to resume our cooperation with the financial institution. It is a well-established bank, which will deliver in areas of the economy where support is required the most.”
Rudolf Putz, Head of TFP in EBRD said: “The TFP team is happy to welcome back Hamkorbank. The programme will strengthen its ability to provide advanced trade financing and trainings for local private entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan. The EBRD limit will also allow Hamkorbank to improve access to international markets and extend tenor for trade transactions.”
The TFP promotes international trade to, from, and within the Bank’s countries of operations, including Uzbekistan. Through the Programme, the EBRD provides guarantees to international confirming banks, taking the political and commercial payment risk of international trade transactions undertaken by banks in these countries. The Programme supported over 20,000 trade finance transactions totalling €15 billion across the EBRD region.
The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Central Asia, with close to €11.6 billion (US$ 12.3 billion) committed to projects in a variety of sectors, from infrastructure to agriculture, with a focus on private sector development.
Between 1992 and 2010, the EBRD invested €894 million in Uzbekistan in 54 projects. Since its reengagement in 2017, the Bank has identified several new projects in the country, some of which have already been signed or are due to be signed by the end of 2017, with more to follow in 2018.