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Economic development
At independence in 1991, the Kyrgyz Republic's economy was severely affected by the collapse of the Soviet trading bloc and the resulting loss of vast markets. A landlocked and mountainous country, some 98 percent of Kyrgyz exports had gone to other parts of the Soviet Union prior to independence. However, as factories and state farms collapsed with the disappearance of their traditional markets, the post-Soviet economy suddenly became dependant on the country’s natural resources and geography.

While the mountainous terrain accommodated to livestock and agricultural production, it provided few exportable resources (with the exception of small gold reserves) and poor access to major economic centres. Taking also into account the country’s lack of experience with independence and democracy, and the absence of institutions needed to function in a market economy, AKDN worked to address some of these gaps.

One of the institutions was the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank (KICB), which was set up to provide a wide range of products and services, including, short-term working capital loans, medium-to-long-term credits, trade finance products, corporate deposits, international money transfer, money market and foreign exchange operations as well as correspondent banking.

The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) is the principal shareholder; other shareholders include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) (20%), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) (20%), Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) (20%) and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic (10%). KICB has also received a significant grant from the Government of Japan and considerable assistance from Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW).