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SME Client Support Afghanistan LLC (“SCSA”) is a consulting and service company registered with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) with its headquarters in Kabul and sub-branch in Mazar-e-Sharif and plans to open further sub-branches in Herat, Kandahar and Jalalabad. SCSA is fully owned by ACGF – Afghan Credit Guarantee Foundation (“ACGF”), a foundation with legal incorporation in Cologne, Germany. ACGF is a credit guarantee fund with the mission to improve access to finance for Afghanistan’s small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) by sharing the credit risk of the Afghan partner financial institutions (“PIs”) and by improving their SME lending capacity with technical assistance (“TA”). ACGF has been founded in 2014 by DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH and by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.
Governed by a service contract concluded between ACGF and SCSA, SCSA provides a broad range of ancillary services in the context of ACGF’s credit guarantee and technical assistance operations.
SCSA is a consulting company, not a financial institution, and it does not provide any financial services. SCSA does not have contractual relationships with the Afghan PIs; it acts as service provider to ACGF carrying out a range of various services, e.g. conducting market research on SME finance, conducting training needs assessment, providing ongoing technical assistance to PIs (e.g. training-on-the-job and coaching of SME credit staff), providing support services for the credit guarantee appraisal and guarantee claim appraisal, carrying out monitoring support for the guarantee portfolio and the compliance of the partner financial institutions, collecting various types of information for ACGF (market-, portfolio-, risk-relevant information) etc.
Purpose of Program
ACGF is in preparation to become the project execution agency for the implementation of two SME matching grant (MG) programs in Afghanistan. The donors of the programs, which core activities are planned to run until mid-2023 are two large international finance institutions. The overall goal of both programs is to support the survival of SMEs during the Corona crisis, to protect existing employment in supported SMEs and to prevent potential spill-over effects of the crisis to the Afghan financial sector. Moreover, a wide array of measures is being introduced under both programs to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak on SMEs not only on the short- but also on the medium-term in Afghanistan. In detail, both MG programs will:
Support Corona crisis adaptation, including market re-engagement, recovery, and productive capabilities of SMEs across sectors;
Strengthen the pipeline of bankable firms and demand for banking services; and
Deploy and build on a simple and tested instrument, which is MGs.
SCSA will be responsible, in coordination with and close supervision by ACGF, for the operational implementation and execution of both programs in Afghanistan. Under both programs, the five big Afghan economic centers Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad, Herat and Kandahar will be covered, where most SMEs are located. The MG program will have a dedicated agricultural component. The MG program will be run in competitive “rounds”. Each round will have pre-announced criteria on eligibility and priorities. SMEs are requested to apply during the round’s application window. Selected SMEs will be supported with MGs in two categories of costs, which is (i) capital costs and (ii) non-capital costs.