ADB, Credo Sign Deal to Promote Food Security and Women-Owned Agriculture MSMEs in Georgia

TBILISI, GEORGIA (19 February 2024) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Credo Bank have signed a loan of 65 million lari (equivalent to around $25 million). The loan will support onlending activities to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), with a specific focus on targeting women borrowers in agricultural production, processing, and trade.

“Women account for over a third of the country’s agricultural employment and agricultural holdings ownership, but remain underserved in terms of accessing financial assistance. Credo is uniquely focused on closing this financing gap,” said ADB Director General for Private Sector Operations Suzanne Gaboury. “Additionally, this project will promote domestic food production and import substitution to enhance the food security of Georgia.”

An accompanying technical assistance grant of up to $700,000 will also be provided to facilitate Credo’s rural outreach by expanding its digital infrastructure and promoting climate-resilient farming practices to its borrowers. The grant will support initiatives to improve women’s financial access and literacy in remote villages and improve rural women’s competencies in financial and digital literacy.

ADB’s financing will provide long-term local currency funding to support Credo, which will help avoid foreign currency exposure and risks. To support the local capital market, ADB will issue local currency bonds to fund the loan.

“We deeply appreciate the long-term strategic partnership with the Asian Development Bank. Over the years, their unwavering support through over 185 million lari of total investments has been instrumental in our bank’s growth and development. This particular transaction is a significant milestone, as it will empower agriculture businesses, with a specific focus on women entrepreneurs,” said Credo Bank Chief Executive Officer Zaza Pirtskhelava. “The sizeable technical assistance will further enhance the bank’s digitization efforts as well as promote climate-resilient farming.”

Credo is the fifth largest commercial bank in Georgia and has a robust rural presence with 87 branches and digital infrastructure serving 360,000 borrowers, of which more than half are women. It is owned by international social impact and development finance institutions such as Access Microfinance Holding AG based in Germany, responsAbility Investment Management AG in Switzerland, Triodos Investment Management BV in the Netherlands, and Proparco based in France. Since 2015, ADB has worked with Credo on projects covering MSME financing, affordable housing finance, and COVID-19 response.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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