IFC to invest in 16pc stake in Brac Afghanistan Bank

Dhaka, November 15, 2006 (The Daily Star) - International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, on Monday announced it will invest in a 16 percent stake in Brac Afghanistan Bank, says an IFC press release.

IFC is investing up to $1 million in equity and will also consider providing a technical assistance programme to support the bank's operations. One of the largest microfinance non-profit institutions in Bangladesh, Brac is taking the lead in establishing the bank.

Brac Chairperson Fazle Hasan Abed inaugurated the first branch of Brac Afghanistan Bank in the Afghan capital Kabul on November 9.

"We decided to establish Brac Afghanistan Bank based on our experience of Brac's extensive developmental work in Afghanistan and the successful operations of Brac Bank in Bangladesh. Afghanistan's micro and small entrepreneurs need a bank that can provide a continuous source of finance," Abed says.

"IFC is delighted to expand its partnership with Brac beyond Bangladesh by establishing a new financial institution in Afghanistan, and we look forward to doing the same in other regions of the world," said Jyrki Koskelo, director of IFC's Global Financial Markets Department.

Brac Afghanistan Bank will offer loans, remittances, and other financial services to small and informal businesses and medium size companies in Afghanistan. The bank's targeted clients, many of them women, would otherwise have little opportunity to borrow money from commercial banks.