PRESS RELEASE: Citi, OPIC and ACBA Credit Agricole Bank Support the Growth of the Microfinance Sector in Armenia
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
New York, NY, June 24, 2014 /3BL Media/ – Citi and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (“OPIC”) today announced a $10 million lending facility, using their existing framework partnership, to support the growth of ACBA Credit Agricole Bank’s agribusiness microfinance portfolio in the Republic of Armenia. The arrangement includes a new $5 million lending facility and the extension of a separate $5 million lending facility first announced in 2012. The financing partnership will promote the financial inclusion of Armenia’s micro-entrepreneurs, small businesses, and agriculture sector, and is part of Citi and OPIC’s collaboration to support microfinance lending in emerging markets around the world.
Through the successful partnership with OPIC, to date Citi has been able provide $381 million to fund 42 microfinance institutions in 22 countries, having a direct outreach to more than one million borrowers, approximately 92 percent of whom are women. Citi’s strong commitment to promote financial inclusion through innovation, thought leadership, and building the financial capability of clients is very well recognized. Citi’s partnership with OPIC to develop new distribution models to access micro entrepreneurs in developing markets was awarded the top prize in the International Award category at the Business in the Community’s Awards for Excellence 2012.
“Expanding access is at the heart of Citi’s inclusive finance work, and we are pleased to continue our impactful partnership with OPIC to broaden financial inclusion, promote economic empowerment and fuel sustainable growth for Armenia’s agribusiness sector,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development and Microfinance. “Access to safe and affordable capital is essential in helping small businesses and agri-producers establish themselves and create sustainable livelihoods.”
“In recent years, OPIC’s partnership with Citi has enabled OPIC to advance its work supporting development around the world by helping expand Citi’s private lending in emerging markets,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “This new lending facility to spur growth in the Armenian agribusiness sector is another important product of this partnership that mobilizes private capital for public good.”
“We highly appreciate our growing cooperation with Citi and OPIC in the field of microfinance and especially rural finance in our country,” said Hakob Andreasyan, CEO of ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank. “This cooperation enhances our lending capabilities to primary agribusiness clients which is vital for development of rural areas of Armenia. Small agricultural farms are very sensitive to economic and climate risks and we are proud to continuously increase their access to financing”.