In Kosovo, access to finance for farmers and small and micro enterprises in the country’s agricultural sector is limited as financial institutions increasingly move out of the small and micro loan segment. Fifteen of the country’s seventeen microfinance institutions (MFIs) operate under NGO status and are not permitted to convert into companies. This inhibits growth as MFIs are not sufficiently capitalized, with low appetite from lenders to fund NGOs.
Agency for Finance in Kosovo (AFK) is the country’s fourth largest MFI, with a market share of 17 percent by loan portfolio and providing financial services to micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in Kosovo. It operates under NGO status and serves customers in urban and rural areas.
IFC and GAFSP will provide a blended finance package of €1 million to AFK to spur lending to farmers in Kosovo and to support the development of the country’s agriculture sector.
IFC will advise AFK as it develops strategies and lending tools that will allow it to extend financing to more agricultural firms. IFC will also support AFK as it rolls out training sessions to help farmers better understand financial instruments and better present their business plans to creditors. Those efforts are considered key in Kosovo, where farmers are a key part of the economy but often struggled to access the financing they need to expand their businesses.
- Access to Finance
Approximately 60 percent of Kosovo’s poor live in rural areas and depend on the agriculture sector for living. The joint IFC/GAFSP investment in KEP Trust will enhance the ability of MFIs to increase access to finance for farmers and micro agri-processing companies across Kosovo, resulting in improved livelihoods and food security.
Mr. Niraj Shah
Head, GAFSP Private Sector Window
Tel: 202 473 3743
Photo: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank