Access to financial services continues to be a significant obstacle for individual entrepreneurs and MSMEs in ECA. Across the region, 17% of firms report that access to finance is the biggest obstacle, only 45% of adults hold accounts at formal financial institutions, and 28 % continue to borrow in informal sector. The goal of the ACAFI Project, operating in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, is to improve access to finance for individuals and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by facilitating the development of efficient and sustainable Credit Reporting (CRS) and Secured Transactions (ST) Systems. The Program is currently in its third exit phase (ACAFI III) which commenced in January 2016 and is expected to be completed by December 2018.
The impact from the project’s activities under the ACAFI III is measured by improved access to finance for approximately 641,000 individual consumers and micro, small and medium businesses (MSMEs) in the form of additional $320.7 million in financing facilitated five years from the Program’s completion (i.e. in 2020). In total, ACAFI targets to improve access to finance to 5,028,000 individuals and MSMEs in the form of additional $2,513.9 million in financing facilitated under the CRS and to the $19,635 SMEs under the ST reforms.
The above objectives are expected to be achieved through the following scope of work and activities under ACAFI III:
Complete the ST reforms in the project countries;
Support the stability of newly created institutions;
Broaden the product/service spectrum and deepen the penetration of the systems;
Support the central banks to perfect their PCB supervision mechanism and skills;
Continue strengthening the financial sectors through thematic seminars and training on risk management and ST based products, as well as by raising awareness and financial literacy of the consumers/borrowers;
Explore the possibility of creation of regional platforms for collaboration and information sharing.