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
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
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.
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