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Cablegate: Opic Finance Application: Afghan Growth Finance,

VZCZCXRO6175
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHBUL #0231 0241051
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241051Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4944
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC 0971
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS KABUL 000231

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS AID/ANE
DEPT PASS USTR FOR DELANEY AND DEANGELIS
DEPT PASS OPIC FOR GORAVANCHI AND KENNERLY
DEPT PASS TDA FOR STEIN AND GREENIP
TREASURY FOR LMCDONALD, ABAUKOL, BDAHL, AND MNUGENT
OSD FOR SHIVERS
COMMERCE FOR DEES, CHOPPIN, AND FONOVICH

E.O. 12958; N/A
TAGS: EINV EFIN AF
SUBJECT: OPIC FINANCE APPLICATION: AFGHAN GROWTH FINANCE,
AFGHANISTAN

REF: State 0867

1. This message responds to reftel request for Embassy input on
potential OPIC financing to Afghan Growth Finance Company (AGF), a
non-bank financial institution operating in Afghanistan. AGF is
dedicated to providing debt financing to Afghan small and medium
size enterprises (SMEs) with a focus in agribusiness.

2. AGF -- and its U.S. sponsor, Small Enterprise Assistance Funds
(SEAF), and AGF Country Director Mustafa Kazem -- are favorably
known to State and USAID officers at post. Embassy Kabul has no
adverse information on AFG, SEAF or Mr. Kazam, with respect to
potential ties to terrorism, money laundering, corruption,
violations of law, or commercial and financial considerations.

3. Our Mission is familiar with AGF's recent loan history to Afghan
SMEs, now totaling approximately USD 10 million. Embassy supports
AGF's plan to provide medium-term loans ranging from USD 50,000 to 2
million to Afghan SMEs focusing in agribusiness and other sectors.
To date, AGF is only one of a handful of lending institutions in
Afghanistan willing to extend significant term loans to Afghan SMEs.
In addition, AFG provides much needed technical assistance in the
areas of budget and accounting management, cost controls, management
and inventory management to help ensure success for the borrower's
enterprises.

4. In the World Bank's 2010 "Doing Business Report," Afghanistan
ranks 127 out of 183 countries for obtaining credit, a 53-place
increase from 180 in 2009. However, access to credit continues to
be identified as serious obstacle to investment in Afghanistan
especially in the agricultural sector. The U.S. Mission therefore
fully supports AGF's OPIC application.

EIKENBERRY

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