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IFC and UNIBank Expand Access to Finance for Importers, Exporters in FYR Macedonia
From left to right -- Mr.Kosta Mitrovski, President of the Management Board of UniBank Mr.Zoran Martinovski, IFC Country Officer.
IFC and UNIBank signed an agreement on July 23, 2012 to partner for expanding access to trade finance for UNIBank’s importer and exporter clients across FYR Macedonia. Under the agreement, IFC will extend a trade-finance credit line to UNIBank under the IFC Global Trade Finance Program, which supports trade in emerging markets by providing partial or full guarantees for individual trade transactions backed by IFC’s triple-A rating.
As an issuing bank in IFC’s program, UNIBank will have easier access to diversified funding sources for its clients’ trade transactions. The bank will also be able to grow its correspondent network and open up banking relationships in new markets across Europe and Central Asia.
“IFC’s facility will allow us to expand the products offered to our clients involved in international trade,” said Svetozar Popov, Executive Director and member of the Managing Board for UNIBank. “We are pleased to partner with IFC to increase the availability of trade finance in Macedonia.”
Foreign trade in Macedonia has rebounded since the global financial crisis, growing 30 percent in 2011. Expanding trade finance will ensure the continued support of key export sectors, including flat iron and steel and garments, helping improve the country’s current account balance and promote economic stability.
“Trade is a driver of economic development, and trade finance is vital for small businesses that want to expand overseas,” said Georgina Baker, IFC Director for Global Trade and Supply Chain Solutions. “With UNIBank joining IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program, firms in FYR Macedonia will have greater opportunities to reach new markets.”
Since its inception in 2005, the Global Trade Finance Program has issued more than 12,000 guarantees totaling $19 billion to banks for trade-related payment obligations of their financial-institution clients in emerging markets. In fiscal 2012, IFC provided $2.9 billion to support trade in the world’s poorest countries, and 79 percent of all guarantees went to small and medium enterprises. The program includes more than 250 partner banks in more than 90 emerging-market countries.
FYR Macedonia became a shareholder and member of IFC in 1993. IFC’s portfolio in the country stands at $104 million. IFC is focusing its investments on increasing access to finance by supporting the development of local financial institutions. IFC Advisory Services aims to improve the performance of private sector companies and attract private sector participation in infrastructure projects.