International Cooperation Projects and Partners

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1 Finanzgruppe Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation Annual Report 2004 Annual Report 2004 International Cooperation Projects and Partners 2004

2 s Finanzgruppe Savings Banks (Sparkassen) Balance sheet total 1,002 billion Savings deposits 308 billion Loans to customers 610 billion Employees 265, Landesbanken/Girozentralen 1 (Regional Banks/Central Savings Banks) Balance sheet total 2 1,624 billion Deposits by customers and financial institutions billion Debts evidenced by certificates billion Loans to customers and financial institutions billion Employees 51, Landesbausparkassen (Central Building Societies) Balance sheet total 49 billion New contracts 35 billion Capital outpayments 9 billion 11.5 million contracts with aggregate contractual savings volume 241 billion Employees 9,500 DekaBank 4 Fund s assets 135 billion Balance sheet total 128 billion Employees 3, Regional Insurance Companies Gross premium income 16 billion Employees 34,100 1 Not including DekaBank 2 Including foreign branches as well as domestic and foreign consolidated Landesbank subsidiaries (excluding building Landesbausparkassen) 3 Not including foreign branches nor domestic and foreign consolidated Landesbanken subsidiaries (excluding Landesbausparkassen) 4 Figures for the given group

3 International Cooperation, Projects und Partners Annual Report 2004

4 Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation (Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation) Simrockstraße Bonn/Germany Phone / Fax / Homepage: Translated by: Stephanie Feige Printed by: Druck Center Meckenheim

5 Table of Contents 4 Overview Dr. Holger Berndt and Dr. Peter Langkamp 6 Spotlight 6 CARD Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Jaime A. B. Alip und Dr. Henning Osthues-Albrecht 12 UN International Year of Microcredit Dr. Ilonka Rühle 14 Project Activities Europe/Caucasus 16 Credit Guarantee Fund Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia 17 Credit line for small and medium-sized enterprises Azerbaijan 18 Advising partner banks in the field of retail banking Azerbaijan, Georgia 19 Introduction of Corporate Governance Standards Azerbaijan 20 Series of conferences for banks in the Caucasus Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine 21Romania 22 Serbia and Montenegro 23 Slovakia Africa 24 South Africa 25 Uganda Asia 26 China Consultancy for the central bank and the bank supervisory authority Bank management seminars 28 Philippines 29 Vietnam 30 Uzbekistan Latin America 31Colombia 32 Mexico Promoting the development of savings banks associations Restructuring savings banks 35 SBFIC Supervisory and Executive Boards, Head Office and Representation Abroad 42 SBFIC Members

6 Annual Report 2004 Overview Overview Dr. Holger Berndt Chairman of the Board In November of last year, Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, declared that 2005 would be the UN Year of Microcredit. In his speech, he emphasised the fact that Microfinance has proved its value, in many countries, as a weapon against poverty and hunger. It really can change peoples lives for the better especially the lives of those who need it most. The overall objective here is to generate access to microcredit and other financial services for a significantly larger number of people, thus giving them a chance to earn an income and find employment. Translating this objective into reality by designing microfinancing instruments is a key component of many projects, both past and present, by the Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation (SBFIC). SBFIC, in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), will organise an international conference in 2005 on the theme of Microfinancing and Global Development. For the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe (Savings Banks Finance Group), whose own roots are based on SME promotion, this is yet another opportunity to highlight its own commitment to development-policy issues and its ongoing role in the German financial system. Indeed, German Sparkassen (savings banks) were established more than 200 years ago, with the aim of providing both the public at large and small enterprises with savings accounts and small loans. Microfinancing institutions are thus not an invention of the 20th century. Right from the outset, German Sparkassen in their capacity as MFIs have successfully sought to reconcile banking expertise having a focus on small companies and small incomes with profitability and social responsibility. For this reason, claiming that German Sparkassen are successful pioneers of microfinance is by no means too bold a statement. The Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe with its development-policy commitment is co-responsible for sensitising international decision-makers and opinion leaders to the importance of and need for local and regional, SME-oriented financial institutions that operate along the same lines as the Sparkassen and Landesbanken (regional banks) on the German market. The model of the savings bank as a locally operating institution that is duty bound to the people and companies located in its region, serves as an attractive role model in many developing countries. SBFIC thus has the task of exporting pertinent knowhow from the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe, thereby promoting the generation of efficient banking institutions on site. A glance at the way in which SBFIC project volume has developed shows how much need there is for intervention and how successful our work with our partner institutions has been. As in the previous year, SBFIC succeeded in increasing its project volume by some 30% in The projects that ran over a period of several years in Croatia, Macedonia and 4

7 Annual Report 2004 Overview Namibia have been wound up successfully and new projects were launched in Slovakia and Vietnam. In China, SBFIC involvement was expanded to include a series of seminars on bank management business games in cooperation with the Chinese central bank. On 26 December 2004 a natural disaster of unprecedented proportion hit Southeast Asia in the form of a tsunami. Companies within the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe responded quickly to this challenge at the start of 2005, providing a rehabilitation fund of 15 million euros, of which some 12.5 million euros will be used permanently on site as financial resources for a microcredit programme. The rest of the money is earmarked for implementation of this recovery programme and for scheduled consultancy inputs to partner institutions in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. The Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe has commissioned the SBFIC with the implementation of this important project which is geared to the sustainable development of the states affected by the disaster. At the close of 2004, the Deutscher Sparkassenund Giroverband (German Savings Banks Association = DSGV) followed through on an SBFIC-led initiative and set up a participation company. The aim of the Sparkassen International Development Trust is to sustainably secure SBFIC projects having key developmentpolicy importance by engaging in equity investment in the partner institutions concerned. Two such equity participations are already underway in Azerbaijan and China in cooperation with the Deutsche Entwicklungsgesellschaft (German Development and Investment Company DEG) and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). Dr. Peter Langkamp Member of the Board and CEO other institutes within the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe and to the many affiliated associations, all of which not only provide funding in support of project activities but second experts, facilitate information visits and internships, supply materials and equipment and generally offer assistance through their foreign representations. We would also like to thank the BMZ, the GTZ, the KfW, the DEG and the World Bank, not only for their financial support for joint project activities and for their excellent cooperation, but for the trust they have placed in us. SBFIC efforts are reflected in the successes achieved by our project partners. SBFIC in turn owes its thanks to the Sparkassen and the Landesbanken as well as to a large number of 5

8 Annual Report 2004 Spotlight CARD Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Transformation of a microfinance NGO into a Rural Bank Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip President of the Foundation Committee and Chairman of the Board of CARD NGO and CARD Rural Bank A group of rural development practitioners organized CARD in December 1986 as a concerted response to the growing poverty incidence in depressed communities in selected regions in the Philippines. A community and livelihood assistance program for landless coconut workers marked the start of CARD s operation in April However, since the initial results of these training-oriented activities were not encouraging, CARD leaders looked for other models of credit and savings delivery to reach its target clients more effectively and efficiently. Initial vision In 1989, CARD pilot-tested the introduction of microfinance services following a modified approach of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. Meeting with success, CARD launched the Landless People s Development Fund (LPDF) as its flagship program in Guided by a sevenmember board, CARD s vision was to create a bank which would be owned and managed by its own members. One of CARD s initial objectives was to institutionalize and establish a nonstock, non-profit Landless People s Bank that will be owned and controlled by the landless members. The succeeding years were spent refining the methodology, with the ultimate objective of achieving the twin goals of outreach and sustainability. As early as December 1995, CARD s Board of Directors began discussing the transformation of CARD into a rural bank, so as to generate the legal basis for mobilizing deposits from the public and to enable CARD to tap the commercial loan market. In August 1997, CARD was authorized to start operations as a rural bank in San Pablo City with an initial paid-up capital of PHP 5 million (USD 167,000). Using a phased transformation approach, four out of the 13 branches were converted into CARD Bank; the remaining branches continued to operate under CARD NGO. Two years later in 1999, CARD Bank opened two branches in the island provinces of Masbate and Marinduque. In early 2002, CARD Bank secured a license for four additional branches in the provinces of Laguna and Quezon. Only by creating a vehicle for asset ownership, can we ensure that the poor will gain control over their own resources and over their own destiny. JAIME ARISTOTLE B. ALIP Ownership structure Initially, CARD Rural Bank was owned by CARD NGO (40 %), the Board of Directors and management staff (60 %). In 2000, it initiated the sale of shares to its clients. Hence, as of December 2004, CARD Rural Bank s ownership structure now looks as follows: 6

9 Annual Report 2004 Spotlight NGO 43 % Staff 4 % CARD Board of Directors and Management 17 % Clients 36 % CARD plans to transfer full ownership to the landless poor in the long run. Mission CARD is a group of mutually reinforcing institutions dedicated to ultimately empowering the poor by upholding the core values of competence, culture of excellence, family spirit and stewardship. It envisions building a sustainable financial institution owned, managed and controlled by landless rural women. CARD is committed to providing continued access to financial services to an expanding client base, by organizing and empowering landless rural women, and by communicating the values of discipline, hard work and savings in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Governance Two client representatives are among the members of CARD s Board of Directors. The Board composition reflects CARD s principle of client ownership coupled with suitable experience and expertise. All board members have years of experience in either microfinance, enterprise development and rural development work. The Board considers itself a working board, because of its involvement in both policy and operational decisions relevant to the organization. Examples of these decisions include: obtaining a loan from commercial sources, submitting proposals to donors, approving the selection, evaluation, promotion and remuneration of senior management team members, opening new branches and developing new products. The board meets every month and keeps formal minutes of its discussions. Commitment CARD s current Board of Directors is highly motivated and visionary. Perhaps more importantly, the leadership is very action-oriented. For instance, once CARD had decided to form a bank, it went on to obtain a license within a year. Now CARD leaders are focused on consolidating their presence in existing markets as the institution continues to transfer NGO branches to the bank. Three of the CARD Bank Directors also serve on the Board of CARD NGO, thereby providing a link between the two organizations at the policy-making level. This strategy was adopted so that the CARD Bank will not lose sight of its mission: While it operates in a business-like fashion, it will not abandon its original objective of serving the poorest. CARD is committed to a long-term strategy that will bring about the socioeconomic empowerment of its clients through the provision of microfinance products and services in a sustainable manner. It has undertaken to carry out this strategy in a responsive manner, serving the interests of all stakeholders and conducting its business operations in a transparent manner, always practicing prudence in its decisions and holding itself accountable, as does a good steward, for the resources entrusted to it. CARD recognizes that capacity-building, be it in the area of human-resource development, financial management, audit and control or information technology, is vital if it is to accomplish its objectives. By transforming itself into a bank, a pioneering effort in the Philippine microfinance landscape, CARD is providing a model for other MFIs in the country (CGAP, 1997). 7

10 Annual Report 2004 Spotlight Partnership project It is in this context that CARD welcomed the partnership offered by the Sparkassenstiftung (SBFIC) and Sparkasse Essen in In view of CARD s extensive operations as a microfinance institution, CARD leadership felt that there was an urgent need for technical assistance in order to generate competence in the banking realm. Dolores Torres, CARD Bank CEO, recalled that in the beginning CARD identified the areas in which Sparkasse Essen could help CARD operationalize regular banking systems within a microfinance-structured bank, namely cash management, installing tighter internal controls, organization and administration, information technology, and building-up staff competencies. All of these objectives were accomplished through the periodic deployment of competent and relevant consultants, exposure programs and training of CARD management and staff either locally or in Essen. the technical management skills we needed to set interest rates, design responsive products and strengthen office administration, for example. Asked what key factor contributed to the success of the partnership, CARD management was one in saying that it was the culture of mutual respect that pervaded the entire partnership. While CARD sought their expertise, the German partners never imposed their agenda on CARD. In the words of Lorenza Banez, CARD Bank Executive Vice President: When the Germans came, we were really impressed by their professionalism. They understood that CARD has social development objectives, and they were very careful in maintaining this social agenda. The consultants focused on sharing their knowledge, skills and experience in banking while at the same time helping CARD adapt banking practices and procedures without losing its social development personality. We really felt that they were our partners, giving feedback and suggestions but never imposing any agenda, even though they had invested a substantial amount of money in CARD operations and program development. When I visited Essen, I understood how similar their beginnings were to that of CARD, simple and modest, but able to grow significantly over time. We became friends and, at the same time, gained 8

11 Annual Report 2004 Spotlight CARD Center for Agriculture and Rural Development In October 2004 an event took place at the CARD Training Center in Bay (Laguna Province, Philippines) that marked the completion of an 8-year-long successful cooperation venture. Think globally, act locally, cooperate internationally It all began back in CARD, which was seeking support for a project involving the transformation of an informal financial institution (NGO) into an official bank, was directed to the Sparkassenstiftung (SBFIC) by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). SBFIC elected to work with CARD through a partnership project, whereby SBFIC would be responsible for project coordination and Sparkasse Essen would act as partner to the organisation in the Philippines. Germany s Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe (Savings Banks Finance Group) operates under the motto: Think globally, act locally, cooperate internationally. Sparkasse Essen is constantly endeavouring to translate this philosophy into hands-on reality, not only in commercial terms but also with the objective of helping others. Furthermore, another point in the project s favour was the fact that CARD executes a similar mandate to Germany s Sparkassen, i.e. it generates access to financial services for people from all levels of society. Opening CARD Rural Bank The project got off the ground with a 2-year start-up phase (1997 and 1998) in which the bank s inauguration was prepared and promoted. Furthermore, in this initial phase both sides had the opportunity to see first hand how this kind of cooperation venture worked. Thanks to CARD s determination and organisational skilfulness, the rural bank was opened on 1 September 1997 shortly after the bank licence was granted. Dr. Henning Osthues-Albrecht Chairman of the Board, Sparkasse Essen Objectives of project work Following the positive start, the partners agreed to continue with project activities. The main phase was thus initiated in 1999, whereby the following objectives were set: Cover costs Improve business transactions (to raise productivity and facilitate expansion) Mobilise savings deposits Enhance credit products and procedures Upgrade staff Financial support The German side supported the achievement of objectives by providing financial resources as well as consultancy and training services for CARD staff members. The money was used to set up a rotating credit fund to refinance the loans extended to CARD customers. Furthermore, investments were also funded (e.g. renovation measures, procurement of machines and office equipment). To recruit specific experts to the workforce (e.g. an IT Director), salaries were subsidised by up to 50 % in some cases. Since the qualification status of a 9

12 Annual Report 2004 Spotlight company s workforce has a considerable impact on the company s success, extensive training measures were also funded. Here again, CARD demonstrated its creativity and flexibility in that some of its management members embarked on an MBA-level course of study at the University of the Philippines in Manila. Consultancy services and measures Whilst, from the point of view of the Philippine partner, the key focus in the early phase of the project was on financial support, subsequent phases were shaped increasingly by consultancy services. Regular planning workshops were held with CARD to specify areas of activity in which know-how could be improved or weaknesses ironed out. As a rule, consultancy missions, which generally lasted for two to four weeks, were carried out by employees of Sparkasse Essen. Besides their extensive specialist knowledge, these employees were also highly proficient in English and had highly developed intercultural communication skills and competence. Sparkasse Essen essentially co-implemented the following measures: Organisational consultancy (structures and work procedures) Generation of an internal audit and internal control system Consultancy in IT issues (selection, use and IT security) Market research, marketing consultancy and product design Mobilisation of savings deposits Modifications to lending operations (procedural simplifications, security aspects, personal loans) Advice on liquidity and investment management Consultancy on the generation of training schedules and training center management In all consultancy activities it was important to us not to sell ready-made solutions, but to offer customised services geared to the specific needs of CARD and its customers. If necessary, follow-up consultancy services were provided and, in individual cases, the targets and solutions were adapted. Activities by other donors (e.g. CGAP/World Bank) were taken into account, so as to avoid duplicating inputs or generating counter-productive proposals. Study trips to Essen also served to extend and consolidate the knowledge and experience of CARD s management-level employees who welcomed this opportunity to learn first hand how a German Sparkasse operates. Project success CARD has earned both national and international acclaim for its work. For example, it was declared the most successful microfinance organisation in the entire Philippines. And, in a global comparison by the Grameen Foundation USA, CARD s achievements rank in second place. The project s success can also be expressed in figures: Balance-sheet total in million US dollars Customers 10, , ,836 Employees Branch offices A great many specialist articles have been written about CARD NGO s transformation into a rural bank a metamorphosis that has remained unparalleled in the Philippines to date and about its ongoing development too (expansion together with cost coverage). CARD has also been the focus of academic studies 10

13 Annual Report 2004 Spotlight with a doctoral thesis having been submitted to the Ruhr University in Bochum and a Master slevel dissertation to the University of Freiburg. Both of these academic papers investigated the impacts of CARD activities on poverty reduction. Two-way knowledge transfer The CARD project has led to the transfer of knowledge in both directions. The experience of a large German Sparkasse and specialised know-how were passed on to the colleagues in the Philippines. But the employees of Sparkasse Essen also broadened their horizons through their work with their Philippine partners in that they were able to outcomes. For German Sparkassen, the decisive factor in this kind of cooperation is the quality of the partner institution. This economically successful model project was wound up at the end of 2004, having produced some very good solutions to the challenges it faced and bequeathing as its legacy a strong partnership based on friendship. However, in spite of all it has achieved, CARD still has a lot of work ahead. For this reason, Sparkasse Essen wishes CARD continued success, secure in the knowledge that the creative and innovative CARD team will undoubtedly continue to make a name for itself in the in future, too. collect experience that went beyond their normal, everyday scope of work get to know different ways of thinking and different mentalities gain an insight into Philippine culture From recipient to provider of consultancy The successful transformation of the microfinance NGO into a rural bank has given CARD the status of an international role model. In Southeast Asia in particular, a large number of microfinance institutions are replicating the CARD approach. In October 2004, CARD and its German partner started a co-project with the Vietnam Women s Union (VWU) in Hanoi in which the VWU s microfinancing operations are to be transferred to a bank to be set up and licensed specifically for this purpose. In this scenario, CARD will pass on the experience and know-how it has gained over the years. This, too, is a situation that has a model character in the development-assistance context. Conclusion Cultural differences and large distances are no obstacles to successful cooperation. Mutual confidence and joint action can lead to positive 11

14 Annual Report 2004 Spotlight UN Year of Microcredit Dr. Ilonka Rühle Project Manager, Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation (SBFIC) In keeping with UN tradition, a central leitmotif is selected for UN work every year the year 2005 is thus the UN Year of Microcredit. Why is microcredit, or extensive microfinancing so important? The answer is that a fully operational financial system is of vital importance to every economy. To phrase it another way, development and growth are only feasible, if the resources available in an economy are put to productive use. For most people in Western countries, having an account from which money transfers are made or on to which savings can be deposited in a multitude of ways is nothing out the ordinary, as is loan extension by banks to small and medium-sized companies. In Germany, the Sparkassen and Volksbanken are the institutions that mostly cater for the SME target group, also in rural regions, too. In developing or transition countries, institutions of this kind are either non-existent or are unable to perform. And yet poor social groups in particular are crying out for financial services. They need a secure option to invest their savings, the only bulwark they have against the challenges life throws at them. They need credit to be able run to their mini-business and so feed themselves and their families and in order to pay for their children s education. Sometimes larger-scale entrepreneurial activities evolve from these one-man companies. As a result, credit is needed to employ staff and, as a logical consequence, to contribute to the economy overall. In many countries, procurement and sales means having to overcome large distances. Furthermore, for many people in poorer countries, payments received from relatives living and working abroad are an important source of income. Well-developed structures in national and international payment transactions are thus an existential life-line. These tasks are well known to the Sparkassen organisation. Indeed, the Sparkassen and cooperative banks were set up some 200 years ago in response to similar problems in Germany and can consequently be regarded as pioneers of microfinance. The Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation (SBFIC) has the mandate to support and promote savings banks and similar institutions offering microfinance in developing countries. Microfinancing reaches population groups that otherwise would not be able to access financial services, because they are marginalised or live in rural areas, whereas the offers by the traditional banks are geared more or less exclusively to people living in the capital cities. Microfinancing is, however, not designed primarily for marginalised groups indeed, it targets large to very large sections of the population, depending on the development status of the country concerned. Microfinance customers are poor, but they are to be taken seriously nonetheless and are certainly not expecting hand-outs. 12

15 Annual Report 2004 Spotlight Microfinancing is not charity, but a profitable business venture. A microfinance institution can only operate on a permanent basis and achieve its social objectives if, at the very least, it manages to cover its costs. It is important to make a profit to facilitate further investment, to offer a wide range of products and to facilitate meaningful cross-subsidisation. On top of this, microfinancing institutions have to withstand competition. To do so, they have to be efficient and professional. Good governance (i.e. no insider lending) is decisive here. Microfinance institutions offer a great many small and micro credits as well as investment options. Average deposits tend to be rather low, but the sheer number of customers means a lot of processing work, which in turn necessitates a well-organised approach, especially since clients are distributed throughout the entire country. Both of these factors, i.e. a large number of accounts and decentralised organisation structures, can only be mastered with a welltrained workforce and appropriate technical resources. Microfinancing only works, if the products are oriented to the target group. In other words, it requires simple products that can be offered to a large group of customers. Besides being easy to understand and handle, the products have to be suited to computer-based processing. Only with a product range of this kind is it possible to provide financial services to customers in rural regions too. This gives microfinance institutions a decisive boost in terms of stability. banking not only benefits the microfinance institution itself, but also generates an important financial offer for members of the population at large who are often on the look-out for a safe investment option for their money. One measure of CARD s success is the fact that this informal financial institution actually managed to transform itself into a formal institution, i.e. a bank. In most countries, deposit operations are, for good reason, the exclusive domain of the banks. This is because banks are subject to regulatory authorities and have to adhere to strict provisions, something that not only benefits the investors but ultimately the regulated institutions as well. However, the legal and supervisory regulations that apply to banks are not always feasible and meaningful for microfinance institutions. This is why, in some countries, efforts are underway to create a legal framework specifically for microfinance institutions that takes account of the specific situation on hand. In CARD s case, the legal form chosen was that of a rural bank. The regulatory provisions underlying the savings banks or cajas in Mexico, whose development SBFIC spearheaded, are yet another example of a special legal basis for institutions of this kind. SBFIC is set to continue its successful activities in the field of microfinance and, in the Year of Microcredit, will step up its efforts to sensitise people to the implementation of this approach. Microfinance institutions can only survive in the long term, if they can base their operations on deposits. In the start-up phase, favourably priced, or even free, international loans are advantageous. However, if this source of funding dries up, there is a risk that the institution will fail. The commitment to deposit 13

16 Annual Report 2004 Project Activities 16 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia Credit Guarantee Fund 17 Azerbaijan Credit line for small and medium-sized enterprises 18 Azerbaijan, Georgia Advising partner banks in the field of retail banking 19 Azerbaijan Introduction of Corporate Governance Standards 20 Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine Series of conferences for banks in the Caucasus 21 Romania 22 Serbia and Montenegro 23 Slovakia 14

17 Annual Report 2004 Project Activities 24 South Africa 25 Uganda 26 China Consultancy for the Central Bank and Bank Supervisory Authority 27 China Bank Management Seminars 28 Philippines 29 Vietnam 30 Uzbekistan 31 Colombia 32 Mexico Promoting the development of savings banks associations 33 Mexico Restructuring savings banks 15

18 Annual Report 2004 Project Activities Europe/Caucasus National currency: Dram (Armenian for money ) The 1,000-dram note is a particular favourite with the people. This note depicts Yeghishe Charents ( ), a twentieth-century Armenian poet. Whereas the dram drastically dropped in value in the period between its introduction in 1993 through to 2002, the exchange rate has remained very stable for the past three years. Cash is the preferred means of payment in Armenia. One-thousand dram corresponds to around 1.80 euros and buys five large loaves of bread in Armenia. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia Credit Guarantee Fund The promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), a key aspect of national economic development, also involves facilitating access to credit. A credit guarantee fund provided by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) is intended to empower selected banks in the Caucasus to obtain credit from international banks, thereby enabling them to refinance relatively favourably priced loans to SMEs. Through the KfW s Credit Guarantee Fund, international banks are guaranteed to recover a set amount of the loan extended to the Caucasian banks. Without this fund, international banks would hardly be willing to take on risks at acceptable terms in any of the countries in this region. Experience gained in other countries has shown that the extension of credit to SMEs is a profitable venture with comparatively little risk. In Armenia and Georgia, the Sparkassenstiftung (SBFIC) identified a total of three partner banks in 2004 which have each signed an agreement with the KfW concerning participation in the Credit Guarantee Fund. The programme has not yet got off the ground in Azerbaijan. The international credit institutions expect their engagement in the Caucasus to generate a minimum volume of credit. However, at this stage in the negotiations, this is very difficult to gauge. Nonetheless, negotiations are being pursued, both with the banks involved in the Caucasus as well as with internationally active institutions. SBFIC not only helps identify the most suitable partner, but also provides consultancy and training in all issues related to the implementation of lending operations. A seminar on the theme of risk management was conducted with the partner institutions involved in 2004 and further seminars are planned for next year. The long-term expert assigned to the project is a former staff member of the auditing unit in the Ostdeutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband (East German Savings Banks Association). Country data Armenia Population 3.8 million Annual per-capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Real changes in GDP % % % Average gross monthly wage in local currency (Dram AMD) 42,316 in Euro 63 Annual inflation rate % % % 16

19 Annual Report 2004 Project Activities Europe/Caucasus National currency: Manat The 50,000-manat note depicts the Mausoleum of Momina Khatun, one of the most important historical buildings in Azerbaijan that dates back to the twelfth century. The mausoleum is located in Nakhchevan province which is separated from the rest of Azerbaijan by a strip of Armenian territory, thus making direct access by land impossible for Azeris at the moment. Fifty-thousand manat, the equivalent of around 8 euros, buys enough basic foodstuffs to meet the needs of a large group of people, i.e. 50 loaves of bread, 17 litres of milk and 2 kilos of butter. Azerbaijan Credit line for small and medium-sized enterprises Backed by the German federal government, the government of Azerbaijan is promoting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To this end, the German government, represented by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, has extended a long-term credit as part of the German-Azerbaijanian Fund (GAF). The credit is channelled to the SMEs via Azeri banks. The programme itself is designed to empower the six partner banks to develop new groups of customers and to apply Western standards in their lending activities, whereby the Azeri banks shoulder the entire risk for the loans they grant. Thanks to the training components and the scheduled mainstreaming of GAF, the framework conditions for project sustainability are good. The acceptance of the project approach in Azerbaijan is reflected in the plans to further extend the credit line again, in the increasing number of Azeri banks taking part in the project and in the quality of the credit portfolio. Project work on site is being steered by an internationally experienced long-term expert from SBFIC. Project sustainability is, to a large extent, attributable to the work performed by a team of well-qualified, local employees. SBFIC s tasks here include: Selecting and monitoring partner banks Disbursing credit funds to the partner banks and overseeing repayment Introducing new credit extension procedures Training management-level staff and loan officers in the partner banks Laying the foundations to institutionalise GAF GAF credit funds were stepped up in 2004 by 3.6 to 8.7 million euros. One of GAF s major successes has been the extension of activities to regions outside the capital city of Baku. The regional GAF office that opened in Gyandzha in the previous year has continued to operate successfully, thus providing targeted support for an economically underdeveloped region. Country data Azerbaijan Population 8.2 million Annual per-capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Real changes in GDP % % % Average gross monthly wage in local currency (Manat AZM) 433,080 in Euro 72 Annual inflation rate % % % 17

20 Annual Report 2004 Project Activities Europe/Caucasus National currency: Lari (old Georgian word for hoard or property) The two-lari note depicts the Georgian composer and national poet Zakharia Paliashvili ( ) and the 19 th -century opera and ballet theatre in Tbilisi. Two Georgian lari, which are roughly equivalent to one US dollar, buy one litre of milk and a loaf of bread in Tbilisi. Azerbaijan, Georgia Advising partner banks in the field of retail banking In days gone by, Azeri and Georgian banks did not regard small and medium-sized companies and the average man on the street as target groups. However, thanks to extensive consultancy and training for selected partner banks, things are set to change in that access to financial services in the Caucasus is to be improved. SBFIC started to promote retail banking in 2002, initially by supporting selected Azeri institutions. However, in 2003, it was able to extend these activities to Georgian banks, too. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is providing the funds for project activities. Since 2003, project implementation has been based on an agreement with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ). Consultancy for the individual banks covers the following specialist areas: Aligning work procedures and internal organisation structures Country data Georgia Population 5.2 million Annual per-capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Real changes in GDP % % % Average gross monthly wage in local currency (Lari GEL) 147 in Euro 63 Annual inflation rate % % % Establishing and consolidating a branchoffice network Implementing HR structural analyses Introducing new remuneration systems Upgrading management information systems Introducing product cost and interest-margin calculations Optimising as well as developing and introducing new products Analysing market potentials Enhancing liquidity management Training SBFIC is implementing this project jointly with an Azeri consultancy institution, the Azerbaijan Bank Training Center (ABTC). ABTC enriches the project through its countryspecific knowledge and strengthens the sustainability of the results achieved. Another key project objective is the creation of a bank network between Georgia and Azerbaijan. A catalogue was drawn up listing the tasks and functions of a banking association and several seminars were also held. The ongoing, strong growth of the partner banks, along with the increasing levels of training of both managers and bank staff, testify to the success of project work. The Sparkasse in Nienburg has seconded an employee to help implement project work in Azerbaijan. A German long-term expert is on site in Georgia. Furthermore, the Ostdeutsche Sparkassenakademie (East German Savings Banks Academy) and the Rheinischer Sparkassen- und Giroverband (Rhineland Savings Banks Association) have particularly been involved in the project. 18

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