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IFC Helps Bridge Financing Gap for Small Business in Liberia






Monrovia, Liberia, June 19, 2012—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today declared progress toward bridging the financing gap for Liberian businesses by increasing affordable financing options and driving sustainable market growth through leasing. Combined legal and regulatory reforms in Liberia have created new financing opportunities, providing a platform for a growing industry and products that local entrepreneurs are now able to tap.

IFC, in partnership with Liberia’s National Investment Commission and the Central Bank, was the sponsor earlier this month of the first Liberia Leasing Investment Forum, which was aimed at rapidly growing Liberia’s small leasing market by strengthening the existing leasing structures and creating opportunities for investment by local and regional businesses.

Vice President of Liberia, HE Joseph N. Boakai, said, “Over the past few years, the government has worked to create an enabling environment for a vibrant leasing sector. With the passage of a new Commercial Code in October 2010, which includes a modern and best practice finance lease law, and the issue of leasing regulations by the Central Bank in 2011, we have strengthened the regulatory and legislative framework for leasing in Liberia.”

Worldwide, finance leasing has demonstrated its ability to increase investment in capital equipment and play an important role in economic development. It is an important alternative to traditional means of financing, especially for smaller businesses that lack the credit history or the required collateral to access traditional forms of financing. The current market potential for leasing in Liberia is estimated to be more than $200 million.

NIC Chairman Hon. O. Natty B. Davis, II. said, “Investment in the leasing sector will be beneficial not only to help local entrepreneurs, who would otherwise not have access to critical equipment, but also to deliver excellent returns to lessors and suppliers. Liberia’s economy will be the richer for it. Liberia is therefore actively seeking leasing investors in the agriculture, infrastructure and extractive industries which offer tremendous business potential.”

IFC Acting Resident Representative for Liberia, Kobina Daniel, said, “Increasing interest, awareness and participation of all local and regional stakeholders in leasing business development is key to supporting widespread finance leasing opportunities for private sector development in Liberia.”

The Forum brought together local and regional participants from both the government and the private sector to explore and act upon opportunities for investment in the leasing sector in Liberia. IFC’s work on leasing in Liberia is currently supported by Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway through IFC’s Conflict Affected States in Africa Initiative and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. For more information, please visit www.ifc.org/africaleasing/liberiaconference2012.  

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

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