The investment of up to US$10 million will enable the fund to support entrepreneurs in the region and assist them in applying better corporate governance and environmental management practices to their businesses. Established by Aureos Capital, the fund will help companies in such countries as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, where access to capital and advisory services remain limited.
Sev Vettivetpillai, CEO of Aureos Capital, said, "Central Asia’s economy is growing rapidly, and SMEs are seeing more opportunities for regional expansion. Aureos Capital has the experience and expertise to provide financing to help them grow, and we welcome IFC’s support of our efforts."
Haydee Celaya, IFC Director for Funds, said, "This investment in the Aureos Central Asia Fund allows IFC to use the reach and capabilities of a private sector fund manager to provide financing to SMEs in the underserved Central Asia region. We are pleased to build on our existing relationship with Aureos through this new investment."
Shahbaz Mavaddat, IFC Director for Southern Europe and Central Asia, said, "SMEs in sectors such as agribusiness, manufacturing, and services are vital for sustainable development and job creation in Central Asia, but they have limited access to the capital markets. With this investment, IFC will improve access to finance and contribute to the sustainable and equitable development of the region."
The Aureos Central Asia Fund has raised US$50 million and seeks to raise an additional US$50 million. CDC Group, a U.K. government-owned fund of funds, the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), and Kazyna, a Kazakh state-sponsored development finance institution, have also invested in the fund.
The fund is considering investments in SMEs in such sectors as consumer goods, food processing, oil and gas–related services, pharmaceuticals, telecoms, construction materials, financial services, and logistics.