The Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $100 million loan with JSC Bank of Georgia (BOG) to support the growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), including those owned by women, by enhancing their access to urgently needed finance amid economic difficulties caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The total financing is $200 million (or its lari equivalent) arranged by ADB as mandated lead arranger and bookrunner, comprising $100 million from ADB’s ordinary capital resources and $100 million from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This is JICA’s first project in Georgia under its Private Sector Investment and Finance (PSIF) scheme since its relaunch in 2012.
ADB will also provide BOG with technical assistance resources to support women-owned MSMEs, which are more vulnerable to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Though MSMEs play a crucial role in Georgia’s economy, they have limited access to finance and women-owned businesses in particular face acute difficulties obtaining funds needed to operate and expand.
“ADB always aims to join forces with best-in-class partners whose goals are aligned with those of ADB,” said ADB Vice-President for Private Sector Operations and Public–Private Partnerships Ashok Lavasa. “In this case, both institutions share the objectives of achieving greater financial inclusion, gender equality, job creation, and access to affordable financial services. This project contributes to such goals.”
“This project incorporates measures to directly address gender equality and women’s empowerment to narrow gender disparities,” said ADB Director General for Private Sector Operations Suzanne Gaboury. “We very much look forward to further supporting Bank of Georgia in the implementation of its Women in Business program to ease the impacts of the economic crisis on women-owned MSMEs.”
“The facility will promote further sustainable economic growth of MSMEs and women’s social success in Georgia by improving their access to financial services,” said Director General of JICA’s Private Sector Partnership and Finance Department Shohei Hara.
“I am delighted to join forces with ADB and JICA on this successful partnership, which will enable us to continue extending much-needed long-term financing to MSMEs in Georgia,” said Bank of Georgia’s Chief Financial Officer Sulkhan Gvalia. “This is our first cooperation with JICA and we are very happy to be the first partner in Georgia under their PSIF scheme since 2012. I would like to thank both ADB and JICA for their cooperation and look forward to further strengthening our collaboration.”