The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is supporting Bank Republic, one of the leading banks in Georgia, with a $30 million loan to provide much-needed financing to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), encouraging business growth and job creation.
Access to finance remains among the most challenging factors for doing business in Georgia, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2014-2015. SMEs often find it more difficult to attract finance. IFC’s long-term financing to Bank Republic, a Georgian subsidiary of Société Générale Group, will be used to on-lend to smaller businesses across Georgia, broadening SME access to a wide range of high-quality banking services, according to IFC.
“Our cooperation with IFC will help us meet increasing customer demand for SME financing, significantly growing our SME portfolio,” said Antoine Gabizon, CEO of Bank Republic. “This long-term funding will help foster economic growth in Georgia.”
Jan van Bilsen, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus, said: “Creating opportunities for SMEs is a key way to advance development and reduce poverty, and it is a strategic priority for IFC. This support for Bank Republic, our long-time partner, furthers IFC’s efforts to support SMEs, a vital economic segment in Georgia.”
In the past several years, IFC has provided Bank Republic with about $80 million financing to improve access to finance in Georgia. The bank also participates in the IFC Global Trade Finance Program.
Since Georgia became an IFC member in 1995, IFC has provided a total of more than $1 billion in long-term finance, including $362 million mobilized from partners, supporting 52 projects across various sectors. In addition, IFC has supported trade worth nearly $300 million through its trade finance program. IFC has also implemented a number of advisory projects focused on private sector development.