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IFC, BICEC partner to boost local agribusiness and productivity in Cameroon


In Washington
John McNally

Telephone: +1 202 458 0723

Email:
jmcnally@ifc.org


Douala, Cameroon, April 1, 2015 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today signed an agreement to provide a FCFA 2.5 billion risk sharing facility to Banque Internationale du Cameroun pour l’Épargne et le Crédit (BICEC), part  of the French group BPCE, to support its lending activities to agricultural cooperatives active in the productions of cassava, maize and sorghum.

Currently 80% of cassava, maize and sorghum, bought by Cameroon agribusiness companies is imported, even though 75% of Cameroon farms grow these crops. The project will share the risk of lending to local cooperative producers selected under the World Bank’s Agriculture Investment and Market Development (“PIDMA”) Project, which works to support the transformation of low productivity, subsistence-oriented cassava, maize and sorghum producers into commercially-oriented and competitive value chains.


Saran Kebet-Koulibaly, IFC Regional for West and Central Africa, said, ““BICEC is an important partner for IFC to reach and support producers of basic foods in Cameroon. On average, only 3-5% of bank lending in Africa goes to agriculture though 60% of Africans derive their livelihood from it. IFC aims to help build a more productive and efficient agricultural sector in the region through better access to finance, markets, and inputs and supporting competitive supply chains. These contribute to our goal of boosting shared prosperity."


BICEC’s Managing Director, said, “IFC’s financing fits well with BICEC’s strategy to take more risk and increase our investments in agriculture in Cameroon under  comprehensive programs such as PIDMA which promote an innovative approach to support a sector that is critical to the country’s development. It will allow BICEC to successfully expand its agriculture portfolio.”


BICEC has been increasingly active in the agricultural sector over the last decade. In 2014, BICEC’s agricultural department originated loans to various parties in the aggregate amount of FCFA 18 billion allowing BICEC to reach directly and indirectly more than 200,000 smallholder farmers.


A joint IFC and IDA team will help ensure that the PIDMA project provides producing organizations with the necessary capacity building to improve their operations, addresses producers constraints related to their operating environment, including poor infrastructure and logistics, and more generally reduces operating constraints to improve productivity. The investment component of IFC’s intervention is supported by the Global Agricultural Food Security Program (“GAFSP”). IFC will also provide advisory services to BICEC to help it become more familiar with the financing of agricultural projects.


About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About BPCE

Groupe BPCE, the second largest banking group in France, includes two independent and complementary commercial banking networks: the network of 18 Banque Populaire banks and 17 of Caisse d'Epargne. With Natixis it is a major player in the client banking, asset management and financial services. Groupe BPCE serves more than 36 million customers and enjoys a strong presence in France with 8,000 branches, 108,000 employees and more than 8.8 million members. For more information, please visit
www.bpce.fr  

About BICEC

BICEC, part of the BPCE Group, operates one of the top banking networks in Cameroon, with 36 branches and 320,000 clients in all the provinces of the country. The bank has a presence in all client segments: individuals, professionals and businesses. For more information, please visit
www.bicec.com.