WASHINGTON, September 28, 2017 - The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank today approved a US$ 60 million loan to the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus (DBRB), guaranteed by the Republic of Belarus, for a new Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Access to Finance Project aimed at improving access to finance for private micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and enhancing the governance and the institutional capacity of the DBRB.
“Private enterprises say that lack of access to finance is stopping them from investing and creating jobs. The project is expected to boost employment for ordinary Belarusians,” said Alex Kremer, World Bank Country Manager for Belarus.
It has become increasingly difficult for private enterprises to obtain funding in the aftermath of the global economic crisis. MSMEs are particularly constrained, especially if they need long-term loans.
“The project supports DBRB not only with financial resources but also contributes to improved knowledge of banks and MSMEs,” noted Ms. Johanna Jaeger, World Bank Senior Financial Sector Specialist and Project Team Leader. “With DBRB playing a growing role in the financial sector, further reforms are required to strengthen DBRB’s mandate, governance, and business model.”
The newly approved MSME Access to Finance Project relies on the findings of the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) of 2014 and 2016. The FSAP revealed that too much bank lending consists of directed and subsidized credit to state owned enterprises. This squeezes out efficient investment.
Since the Republic of Belarus joined the World Bank in 1992, lending commitments to the country have totaled US$ 1.7 billion. In addition, grant financing totaling US$ 28 million has been provided to various programs, including those with civil society organizations. With the approval of this project, the active investment lending portfolio financed by the World Bank includes nine operations totaling US$ 991 million.
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