announces First Partner in Azerbaijan, Komak Credit Union is proud to announce our first Partner in Azerbaijan, Komak Credit Union.

Komak is a credit union established in 1999 among 20 union members. In the same year Komak opened 2 field offices, of which one is in Baku (Azerbaijan's capital) and the other in Fizuli (a rural region).

Since 1999, Komak has opened new branches in Absheron, Salyan and Khachmaz, established relations with the World Bank and the Danish Refugee Council, and disbursed hundreds of thousands of loans. Today, all branch offices are engaged full-time in providing microfinance services to internally displaced peoples (IDPs) and other low-income groups of Azerbaijan (IDPs are refugees who have not crossed an international border).

Komak serves more than 1060 active members. Out of these clients, 66% are IDPs, 34% are female clients, 47% of clients are engaged in trading businesses, 40% in animal breeding, 6% in the service sector, 3% in small/scale production, and 4% in other agricultural affairs. Komak's total outstanding portfolio is approximately $557,000 USD and the average loan amount is $750 USD. In 2005, businesses supported by Komak loans created 300 new jobs and sustained more than 2,100 jobs.

Despite the success of Komak's work, the demand for microfinance services remains very high. The population of Azerbaijan's rural regions face a difficult economic situation where the unemployment rate reaches 40-45%. Furthemore, access to credit is low due to the dearth of credit organizations working in the region. In order for Komak to achieve better outreach in serving IDP families and female clients, serve new regions of the country, and improve its financial and organizational sustainability there is a need for additional funding. is excited to be expanding Kiva Lenders' reach in Eastern Europe and we welcome all Komak representatives and entrepreneurs to the Kiva Community!

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cory lee