September 28, 2020, 8:31 pm


ALIF

Published:
2020-08-27 08:13:35 BdST

BD farmers, enterprises may access IFC fund


Thousands of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and millions of farmers across Asia and the Pacific stand to benefit from the first phase of Covid-19 crisis response funding from IFC, the global agency says.

In Bangladesh, it has provided a loan of up to $30 million to The City Bank Limited, a leading private commercial bank, to provide financing for SMEs and export-import companies affected by Covid-19.

This investment comes under the WCS programme, which is part of IFC’s $8.0 billion global Covid-19 fast-track financing facility developed to help businesses cope with the ongoing global slowdown, marked by a collapse in tourism, plunging trade, disruptions to supply chains, and diminished foreign direct investment, according to an IFC news release issued on Wednesday.

“Small and medium enterprises provide more than 35 percent of employment in Bangladesh and contribute to a quarter of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product),” said Wendy Werner, IFC Country Manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

“Through IFC’s Covid-19 financing facility, we hope to help revitalise small businesses and also support our clients that have seen cash flows disrupted due to the worldwide crisis.”

The release mentioned that thousands of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and millions of farmers across Asia and the Pacific stand to benefit from the first phase of Covid-19 crisis response funding from IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.

As the pandemic continues to send shockwaves through the global economy, IFC supported 13 companies in the region — over 190,000 employees in the manufacturing, agriculture, services and energy sectors — with $554 million in Covid-19-related funding in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.

Also, IFC deployed $492 million in Covid-19-related trade finance lines in the region. This, IFC said, has helped financial institutions provide liquidity to businesses dependent on trade, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

About 17,500 MSMEs and corporates in the region are also expected to be among the beneficiaries of IFC’s $2.0 billion Working Capital Solutions (WCS) programme in FY 2020. The aim of the programme is to help emerging-market banks extend credit so that businesses can continue to operate, stemming job losses, it added.

“The economic and social impact of Covid-19 will continue to exact a toll on people and businesses, leaving an indelible mark on the region’s economies and private sector” said Alfonso Garcia Mora, IFC’s newly appointed Regional Vice President for Asia and the Pacific. “To address this, we are stepping up efforts to support companies strengthening also our support to the financial sector so that businesses and firms can build resilience on the road to recovery.”

Since the outbreak, IFC has made efforts to help both small and large businesses in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, and Vietnam, the agency said.

The support to companies focused on agriculture — between 15,000 and five million farmers and SMEs in their supply chain networks — is designed to help boost farmers’ incomes, strengthening agribusiness and contributing to food security.

The FY 2020 also saw IFC work upstream with the World Bank on complex projects with potentially transformative impact to deliver power to millions of people in Afghanistan, Nepal, and Pakistan, the news release said, adding that IFC also advised governments and the private sector in a range of areas from green sustainable finance and gender issues to helping companies and institutions through webinars to cope with Covid-19 impacts.

Overall, IFC committed $6.7 billion in private sector investments in Asia and the Pacific in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.This includes the $554 million in IFC financing in response to Covid-19 under the new Covid-19 fast-track facility, according to the release.

It also pointed out that just under half of this was for countries classified as poor and fragile and conflict-affected. In addition, IFC supported around $1.1 billion of cross-border trade in the region through its Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP).

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