Press Releases

IFC Partners with Key Microfinance Institution in Morocco, to Benefit More Than 45,000 Microenterpreneurs

In Washington D.C.:

Adriana Gómez
Phone: +1 (202) 458 5204

Rabat, Morocco/ Washington D.C., March 1, 2006The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and the Foundation for Local Development and Partnership (Fondep), a microfinance institution in Morocco, have signed a partnership agreement whereby IFC will provide a partial credit guarantee and technical assistance support. IFC’s package will help Fondep access long-term sustainable financing and maximize its microfinance operations through its 43 agencies across Morocco.  These agencies offer services to about 45,000 active beneficiaries.

IFC’s partial credit guarantee will allow Fondep, the fourth microfinance institution to be established in Morocco, to obtain financing from local banks of up to 60 million Moroccan dirhams, and to do so at lower rates. This will be IFC’s first structured finance transaction in Morocco.

Nina Shapiro, IFC’s Vice President, Finance, and Treasurer, noted that, “IFC is launching this partial credit guarantee program after successfully issuing its first bond in Morocco last year, which was also the first dirham offering by an international borrower. This initiative demonstrates IFC’s continued commitment to and confidence in microfinance, an industry that provides the poorest segments of the society with much-needed affordable access to financial services.”

Fondep’s President, Mouatassim Belghazi, stressed the important role that microloans play. He noted, “A good microloan program not only brings financial services to the poorest, it also provides the freedom for each recipient to become an entrepreneur. We are talking about tens of thousands of microenterprises. Isn’t that a large impact? This is the basis of the partnership between Fondep and IFC.”  

Joumana Cobein, IFC’s Country Manager in Morocco, said, “This operation shows IFC’s priority of promoting the sustainable development of microfinance institutions in Morocco.  The integrated approach of providing both financing and technical assistance shows IFC’s competitive edge in supporting the private sector in the Middle East and other emerging markets.”

By granting microloans, Fondep helps the economically weakest segments of Morocco’s population become part of the production economy and thus contributes to improving the lives of poor people. Created in 1996, Fondep financially supports and advises those who have revenue-generating projects but who do not have access to the traditional banking system, in particular women in rural areas and young people who are excluded from the job market. The institution is also working to support the well-being and human development of its clients. Fondep’s portfolio is over 100 million MAD.

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.  IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.  Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications.  For more information, visit