IFC to polish up on access to funding for Kazakhstani SMEs

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The International Finance Corporation will increase access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises in Kazakhstan, Ekaterina Benjamin, International Finance Corporation's (IFC) Country Officer for Kazakhstan, told Trend.az.

As she pointed out, although playing an important role and accounting for approximately 27 percent of Kazakhstan's GDP, smaller businesses face considerable barriers to financing.

"Difficulties such as insufficient documentation, unestablished credit histories, and issues with property titles as collateral impede their financial support. Furthermore, these enterprises have seen significant income disruptions as a result of the post-pandemic economic recession, which has been exacerbated by the geopolitical uncertainty. This generates an urgent need for personalized care to help them recover and thrive," Ekaterina Benjamin explained.

According to the country officer, as the economy works to recover from these setbacks, small firms urgently need access to finance for inventory investments, resuming operations, and adapting to the new post-crisis economic landscape.

"To increase their access to finance, we work through local financial institutions to provide much-needed access to finance to millions of individuals and smaller enterprises that IFC would never be able to reach directly on its own. Through our collaboration with microfinance institutions, IFC is poised to ignite growth, foster job creation, and alleviate poverty in Kazakhstan, with a particular focus on underserved segments. Our outreach extends not only to women-led businesses but also encompasses rural-based businesses spread across various regions," she noted.

By June 2023, the number of active SMEs in Kazakhstan climbed by 23.4 percent to around two million. The total number of individuals employed in this sector climbed by more than 18% to 4.1 million. As a result, SMEs employ around 40 percent of all workers in the economy.

As a result, the economic contribution of SMEs increased from 33.3 percent to 36.5 percent. The volume of SMEs' production increased by 28 percent to approximately 59 trillion tenge (about $123 billion).

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