WASHINGTON DC, February 4, 2021 — MIGA, a member of the World Bank Group, has issued guarantees of US$101 million to Citibank NA and Commerzbank AG for their loans to Banco Nacional de Fomento (BNF) of Paraguay. The guarantees, which support BNF’s efforts to stem the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Paraguay’s export-oriented sectors, have been issued for up to seven years and provide protection against the risk of Non-Honoring of Financial Obligations of a State-Owned Enterprise (NHFO-SOE).
The export-oriented sector represents over 35 percent of Paraguay’s GDP and has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. As of September 2020, total exports had contracted by 12.6 percent as compared to the year before, and with a relatively small, bank-oriented, undiversified financial market, exporters are particularly vulnerable to liquidity constraints and high interest rates. Loans backed by MIGA guarantees will help export-oriented companies continue operating during the COVID-19 crisis and retain their employees. Securing Paraguayan jobs is vital to ensuring a successful post-pandemic recovery for the country.
BNF has played a key role in implementing Paraguay’s US$2.5 billion Economic Recovery Plan. To date, BNF has launched extraordinary credit lines, has helped capitalize a trust fund for SMEs and has implemented an 8-month moratorium on loan and credit card repayments. As of December 2020, BNF disbursed a total of US$166 million in the form of 6,867 new loans, of which 72 percent were to SMEs.
In a statement, BNF said: “This transaction marks a significant landmark for BNF´s 60-year history, as the first international operation whereby global financial institutions grant access to credit facilities, under remarkable market conditions. The guarantees provided by MIGA will be instrumental in BNF´s efforts to provide credit support to a wide range of productive sectors across Paraguay, thereby contributing to stimulate long-term investments, in line with the Government´s Economic Recovery Plan.”
MIGA’s guarantees, which are helping BNF secure its first US dollar funding from international financial markets at a reasonable cost that it could not otherwise obtain, will further support export-oriented sectors. Expected benefits include increasing access to finance to corporates and cooperatives, diversifying the product offering in the Paraguayan banking sector and allowing BNF to provide long-term financing with tenors between five to seven years to export-oriented corporates.
“Our guarantees have been issued on a fast-track basis as part of MIGA’s COVID-19 Response Program,” said MIGA Executive Vice President Hiroshi Matano. “Our support will help provide US dollar liquidity to export-oriented corporates, and help preserve jobs while stimulating agricultural, services, commercial and industrial activity nationwide.”
The MIGA-guaranteed facilities will target productive investments (purchase of equipment, vehicles, raw material), expansion of infrastructure and other capital expenditure (CapEx) investments.
“We are very proud to partner with MIGA, a member of the World Bank Group, in this landmark transaction for Banco Nacional de Fomento (BNF), which helps support the local Paraguayan economy and SMEs with long-term funds throughout the pandemic,” said Germán Heberling, Citi Chief Country Officer for Paraguay. “This financing is aligned with Citi’s strategic priority to accompany our clients and provide solutions to assist in this crisis, as well as Citi's commitment to the public sector. We look forward to cooperating with MIGA and working to provide more innovative financing solutions to support the Paraguayan economy.”
MIGA’s first guarantees to Paraguay in over 24 years, the support sends a strong signal to other financiers, including Plata Basin Financial Development Fund (FONPLATA), the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), and, that BNF is seeking assistance from.
MIGA was created in 1988 as a member of the World Bank Group to promote foreign direct investment in emerging economies by helping mitigate the risks of restrictions on currency conversion and transfer, breach of contract by governments, expropriation, and war & civil disturbance; and offering credit enhancement to private investors and lenders.
Since its creation, MIGA has issued over US$59 billion in guarantees across 118 developing countries.
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. It is supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. The World Bank Group is making available up to $160 billion over a 15-month period ending June 2021 to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans and $12 billion for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
In Washington: Vamsee Krishna Kanchi, (202) 458-9771, firstname.lastname@example.org
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