International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation supports SMEs in Uzbekistan

The provision of lines of financing from International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Uzbekistan enables business owners to grow by accessing finance where and when it is required, Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC, told Trend in an interview.

Recently Trend reported that Uzbek JSCB Turonbank has signed $6 million agreement with ITFC to allow small businesses and private entrepreneurship of Uzbekistan to attract financing for up to one year to replenish working capital.

“Some SMEs are sensitive about shariah (Islamic law) compliance of the financial products. This financing provides an opportunity for those SMEs to finance their trade and working capital needs. It combines cash and non-cash financing, thus providing a comprehensive solution for foreign trade needs,” CEO of ITFC stated.

In addition to boosting access to financing, ITFC’s Uzbek strategy also focuses on capacity building initiatives, a strategy that includes working with the banking regulator and financial institutions on capacity building activities.

“We held two capacity building events in Uzbekistan since May 2018” Sonbol noted.

He added that ITFC intends to continue to onboard new banks to boost their ability to support SMEs in Uzbekistan. This will be done through signing Line of Finance Agreements. ITFC is already working with five local banks in meeting the financial needs of SMEs in the country and total financing approved within last 15 months is $38 million.

“The needs of SMEs in Uzbekistan are significant and ITFC will expand its activities in the country to serve them better by engaging with local partners to deliver not only financial solutions but strategic support services that enable SMEs to build their businesses,” Sonbol stressed.

ITFC is a global leader in Islamic Trade Finance Solutions in member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). It was created with the purpose of advancing trade to improve the economic condition and livelihood of people across the Islamic world, act as a catalyst for intra-regional trade between regions and strengthen trade and diplomatic ties between OIC member countries.