Press Releases

IFC Launches Expansion of Small Business Lending in Africa with Banque Agricole et Commerciale du Burkina

In Johannesburg
Houtan Bassiri

Phone: + (27) 83 701 6748


In Washington, DC

Cynthia Case McMahon

Phone: + 1 (202) 473 6287


In Ouagoudougou

Alain Traore

Phone: + (226) 76 69 00 41


Ouagoudougou, March 8, 2007— With a $6 million loan to Burkina Faso’s Banque Agricole et Commerciale du Burkina, IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today launched a comprehensive program that will dramatically increase lending to small and medium enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The loan is provided under IFC’s new program for boosting lending to smaller businesses across Sub-Saharan Africa by investing in and providing advisory services to numerous banks in the region. Investments made under the program will be drawn a finance facility of up to $200 million that has recently been approved by IFC’s board. The program is especially important because smaller businesses find it very difficult to access credit across Sub-Saharan Africa.

This transaction is part of the first series of loans made under the new program. All investments will be in the form of loans and other debt instruments to African banks to support lending to micro, small, and medium enterprises.

IFC’s financial products will be coupled with an extensive package of IFC advisory services that aims to raise the bank’s capacity to serve micro, small, and medium enterprises. These services will expand its range of loan products, raise its credit risk management practices, and help it reach a larger number of smaller businesses.

"Small and medium enterprises drive the economies of many African countries, and increasing support to them is one of IFC's strategic priorities," said Thierry Tanoh, IFC's director for Sub-Saharan Africa. "IFC's support to Banque Agricole et Commerciale du Burkina will help entrepreneurs in Burkina Faso realize their potential and provide new opportunities for smaller businesses that contribute to development."

IFC is considering 25 banks in 17 countries across east, west, central and southern Africa under the first round of the program. Like the original, each subsequent investment will be made in conjunction with an extensive package of advisory services that aims to raise the capacity of the partner bank to serve smaller enterprises. These services will be provided by IFC-selected consulting companies with expertise in promoting lending to smaller firms.

“Banque Agricole et Commerciale du Burkina is actively pursuing a policy of diversifying its client base,” said Neonce Kone, BACB’s director general.  “Working with IFC will enable us to develop the tools necessary to reach a wider range of micro, small, and medium enterprises across Burkina Faso.”

Two other IFC initiatives complement the program to expand small business lending: one focuses on building the capacity of smaller businesses to access financing more easily from commercial banks and the other focuses on easing stringent collateral requirements and facilitating bank lending to smaller businesses.

About IFC

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.  IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit