Sunday, 14, July, 2024

Standard Chartered and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank Group (MIGA) announce today EUR 114 million financing for the Joint-stock company National Bank for Foreign Economic Activity of the Republic of Uzbekistan (NBU), the largest bank in Uzbekistan. This is MIGA’s first guarantee against the risk of non-honoring of financial obligations by a state-owned enterprise in Uzbekistan.

NBU will use the MIGA-covered loan to support the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across various sectors, including agribusiness, wholesale, and manufacturing. Due to the social nature of the SMEs’ growth plans, Standard Chartered structured the financing to meet the Social Loan Principles (SLPs). The SLPs aim to create a high-level framework of market standards and guidelines, providing a consistent methodology for use across the social loan market. 

Standard Chartered acted as mandated lead arranger, social loan coordinator, bookrunner, original lender, structuring bank and facility agent. The other lender and mandated lead arranger is Landesbank Baden-Württemberg.

This important financing reflects NBU’s strategy to help the SME segment, which plays a pivotal role in Uzbekistan’s growth and job creation. Equally, it demonstrates the business case and financial viability of lending to SMEs, paving the way for other financial institutions to do the same.

Saif Malik, UK CEO and Regional Head, Client Coverage of UK and Türkiye at Standard Chartered Bank, said: “We are proud to leverage our strong partnership with the National Bank of Uzbekistan and MIGA to encourage a greater flow of private capital for developing the SME sector, a socially impactful project.”

MIGA’s guarantee will enable NBU to diversify its funding sources from traditional official development assistance and bilateral sources. Moreover, the project will implement an enhanced Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) tailored to SMEs. This system will incorporate globally recognised environmental and social standards and best practices. By integrating this ESMS into NBU's existing credit process, the bank will sustain effective environmental and social frameworks. This integration will empower NBU to assess, manage, and monitor risks and impacts associated with subprojects while responsibly managing the overall portfolio risk.

Hiroshi Matano, Executive Vice President of MIGA, said: “MIGA’s guarantees play a crucial role in bringing much-needed capital to developing countries, facilitating building of a sustainable economy. As our first non-honoring project in Uzbekistan, we are eager to further expand to the country through partnerships with companies like Standard Chartered Bank.”  

To confirm their intentions in relation to the transaction, both Standard Chartered and NBU officials came together on 2 May to sign a Memorandum of Collaboration, at a ceremony at NBU’s offices in the capital Tashkent.

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