The FINANCIAL -- Kosovo, Pristina, June 13, 2018—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a €1 million loan to Agency for Finance in Kosovo, the country’s fourth-largest microfinance institution, to boost access to finance for micro and small businesses, and small farmers and agri-businesses in rural and semi-urban areas, in particular.
According to IFC, medium to long-term funding is critical for developing Kosovo’s private sector and creating jobs, but remains scarce across much of the country. AFK is one of the few microfinance institutions not headquartered in the capital Pristina but in Peja, and serves more than 14,000 customers through a nationwide 20-branch network. Around 40 percent of AFK’s clients are farmers and entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector, who often face challenges when trying to secure funds from commercial banks.
“IFC will help us to improve and increase our lending to entrepreneurs and farmers in Kosovo,” said Vahdet Anadolli, CEO of AFK. “IFC’s loan is also an important recognition for the work AFK has been doing over the past several years.”
The investment comprises a €0.7 million loan for IFC’s own account and a €0.3 million loan from IFC, as the implementing entity for the Private Sector Window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP).
“By extending this loan to AFK, we are reaffirming our confidence in Kosovo’s microfinance sector,” said Thomas Lubeck, IFC Regional Manager for Central and Southeast Europe. “AFK is the third microfinance institution in Kosovo we are supporting, as this sector is essential for channeling funds to urban and rural entrepreneurs, who are generating growth and employment opportunities in the country.”
According to IFC, to further build its agriculture footprint, AFK also signed an agreement in August 2016 with IFC’s agri-finance advisory team to revise the organization’s agri-lending approach and build staff expertise in agri-financing.