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IFC, AFK Work Together to Boost Lending to Kosovo Farmers, December 2016

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Agency for Finance (AFK), a microfinance institution, are working together to spur lending to farmers in Kosovo, part of an effort to support the development of the country's agriculture sector.

IFC will advise AFK as it develops strategies and lending tools that will allow it to extend financing to more agricultural firms. IFC will also support AFK as it rolls out training sessions to help farmers better understand financial instruments and better present their business plans to creditors. Those efforts are considered key in Kosovo, where farmers are a key part of the economy but often struggled to access the financing they need to expand their businesses.

“By using IFC’s experience and expertise in agri-finance, we are hoping to unlock the potential of investments in agriculture sector as a critical point for driving economic growth in Kosovo," said Vahdet Anadolli, Chief Executive Officer of AFK. “We will continue to develop our agri-lending to help our clients by providing customized working capital and access to finance for different stakeholders along sustainable supply chains.”

The initiative is being spearheaded by the IFC Europe and Central Asia Agri-Finance Project, which receives support from the Austrian Ministry of Finance and the Hungarian Export-Import Bank.

“Agriculture is a major employer throughout the world, especially in rural parts of developing countries,” said Leah Soroka, IFC's Europe and Central Asia Agri-Finance Program Manager. “But a key challenge for the majority of these farmers is access to finance. IFC supports financial institutions as intermediaries, allowing them to reach out to a growing number of small-hold farmers, supporting innovations in the sector and spurring job creation.”

The IFC ECA Agri-Finance Project aims to increase access to finance for the agricultural sector in Ukraine, Central Asia, Azerbaijan, and the Western Balkans.

Kosovo became a member and shareholder of IFC in 2009. Since then, IFC has invested and mobilized USD 391 million in the country through five projects in a variety of sectors. IFC has also supported trade flows of USD 4.8 million through its trade finance program. IFC’s advisory services in Kosovo aim to improve the investment climate, support private sector companies, and attract private sector participation in the development of infrastructure projects.

For more information about AFK, please visit: http://www.afkonline.org/rreth-nesh-eng.html

About Austrian Ministry of Finance

The ministry's external economic program supports the development and transition process in Southeast and East Europe. The program aims at promoting sustainable investments to support economic growth, create jobs, and improve the business environment. For more information, visit: https://english.bmf.gv.at/

About Hungarian Export-Import Bank and the Hungarian Export Credit Insurance Company

Their objective is to serve Hungarian exporters through the provision of effective financing and insurance facilities. Acting as a tool for providing economic and policy incentives, their mission is to support Hungarian exporting enterprises in facilitating the retention of jobs, growing employment, and expanding Hungary’s export capacities. For more information, visit: http://exim.hu/

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly USD 19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

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