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IFC PROVIDES LOCAL CURRENCY GUARANTEE TO MICROFINANCE INSTITUTION IN MALI


L. Joseph
Phone:(202) 473-7700
Fax:(202) 974-4384
E-mail:ljoseph@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., March 2, 1999 --- The International Finance Corporation will provide a local currency guarantee of up to CFAF 160 million (about US$290,000) to Kafo Jiginew, the largest microfinance institution in Mali.

The guarantee will allow Kafo Jiginew to obtain medium-term local currency loans from a local bank for about twice the guaranteed amount. Kafo Jiginew will be able to mobilize funding to meet the growing credit demand from people who have no access to the formal banking system.  The guarantee will help to develop long-term lending operations for which there is increasing demand.  This operation is designed to encourage commercial banks to lend to microfinance institutions.


The project will promote outreach to the most economically disadvantaged groups and IFC is considering the same kind of operation with two other microfinance institutions in Mali.  After his recent trip to Africa, Executive Vice President Peter Woicke said IFC would focus on helping small business get financing as building blocks for a thriving private sector that will reduce poverty.


Kafo Jiginew is a federation of 81 local credit unions owned by about 58,000 individual members.  It operates in the cotton-growing regions of Mali, is well-managed and recognized as one of the country's leading microfinance institutions.


IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the international financial markets, and providing technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.