Almaty, Kazakhstan, September 8, 2010-IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping improve the legal and institutional framework for microfinance in Europe and Central Asia to increase access to finance for microentrepreneurs and general population.
To support this effort, IFC has organized a study tour in Mongolia on microfinance-related policy for policymakers from Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan. The tour, from October 12 through October 14, will acquaint policymakers with international best practices and enable them to further improve the legal framework in their respective countries. It is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and led by the IFC Azerbaijan & Central Asia Microfinance Transformation Support Project.
"IFC encourages improvements to the microfinance regulatory framework to help microentrepreneurs and the population get access to finance," said Rolf Behrndt, Regional Business Line Leader for Financial Markets of IFC Advisory Services in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. "Mongolia is an excellent example to show to the government and central banks' officials how their countries can benefit from a well-developed microfinance sector and how local microfinance institutions can diversify and expand financial services to their customers through a successful transformation into a bank."
During the tour, participants will study a successful transformation of a microfinance institution into a bank, best practices and innovations in the microfinance sector, as well as meet with senior government officials of Mongolia. They also will be the first to get results of a report, Comparative Analysis of Policy Frameworks and Regulation of Selected Countries: A Transformation Perspective, initiated by IFC.
The report analyzes to what extent the regulatory framework in Azerbaijan and Central Asia is conducive to transformation of microfinance institutions into microfinance banks. The report complements the study tour and supports the ongoing dialogue and evolution of the legislative frameworks in Central Asia and Azerbaijan.
A well-developed microfinance sector is an important engine for private sector growth and poverty reduction. Yet more than 3 billion people in developing countries have little or no access to financial services. IFC works to improve the livelihoods of people living in emerging markets by expanding financial inclusion and increasing access to finance for the poor.