The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank Group, has provided a financing package to the tune of $13.5 million to three Myanmar microfinance institutions, it announced on June 21.
IFC will be injecting $1.5 million for a stake in Maha Agriculture Public Company (Maha MFI), a subsidiary of the leading local agricultural inputs producer Myanma Awba Group Company Ltd. It will extend $6 million in loans each to Fullerton Finance (Myanmar) Company Limited (Fullerton Myanmar) and Early Dawn Microfinance Company Limited (DAWN).
“Improving access to microfinance will help unlock the great potential of the rural sector and small enterprises by providing much needed financing to increase productivity and create jobs, incomes and prosperity for a significant number of workers in this country,” said Vikram Kumar, IFC Country Manager for Myanmar.
IFC estimates that the demand for microcredit, a vital source of finance for small enterprises and poor households underserved by mainstream banks’ collateral requirements, is to exceed supply by three times.
The country has 24 private banks but it is estimated that only about 20 per cent of the population is connected to formal financial services. The IFC investment is also aimed to provide sustainable local currency debt to for the MFIs to expand their loan portfolio.
“With this support, we will address the critical need for agri-lending products crafted to accommodate important agriculture-specific aspects, such as crops and seasons, for the sector to reach its full potential,” said Rajesh Malhotra, chief financial officer of Awba Group.
IFC has already taken a 15 per cent equity stake in Fullerton Myanmar and some of their existing clients include Acleda, Proximity Designs, Pact Global Microfinance Fund (PGMF) and VisionFund Myanmar.
Some of the programmes of IFC include technical assistance focused on formalizing microfinance institutions, building capacity in treasury management, human resources, risk management and product development.