Press Releases

IFC Brings Local Currency Financing to Fundación WWB Colombia - First IFC partnership with microfinance entity in Colombia

In Washington, D.C.:
Adriana Gómez
Phone:  (202) 458-5204

Washington, DC, March 16—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is breaking new ground with a five-year Colombian Peso loan of COP$20.7 billion ($9 million equivalent) to Fundacion WWB Colombia, one of Latin America’s leading microfinance institutions serving more than 110,000 microentrepreneurs.

The transaction is IFC’s first financing to a microfinance entity in Colombia. It consists of a local currency debt financing that will help Fundacion WWB Colombia provide an additional 25,000 loans to low-income clients during the next five years.

Jyrki Koskelo,  IFC’s Global Financial Markets director, said, ”Fundacion WWB Colombia combines extraordinary outreach to poor microentrepreneurs with exceptional financial results, making it an ideal candidate for IFC financing and long-term partnership.”

Clara de Akerman, founder and president of FWWB Colombia, underlined the importance of the transaction.  “Our clients have revenues and expenses in Colombian Pesos, and therefore need loans in the same currency,” de Akerman said. “IFC’s financing allows us to serve our clients, expand our portfolio and, by virtue of carrying a fixed interest rate, improve risk management.”

To provide the local currency financing, IFC—backed by its AAA rating—will enter into currency swap transactions with financial institutions present in the Colombian market.

After several years of strong growth, FWWB Colombia serves more than 120,000 microentrepreneurs—many of whom live at or below the country’s poverty line—with working capital loans and other essential financial services.  

Loans average Colombian Peso $1.77 million of COP ($779 equivalent) and typically represent the client’s first relationship with a financial service provider.  As of January 31, 2006, FWWB Colombia’s loan portfolio was Colombian Peso $233.1 billion of COP ($103 million equivalent), with 131,827 loans outstanding.  Two thirds of FWWB Colombia’s clients are women, an important factor underpinning the organization’s success, as women tend to have a better repayment records than men.

FWWB Colombia, based in Cali, is a non-profit foundation affiliated with the Women’s World Banking Network, a global group of 24 microfinance institutions in 19 countries.  

IFC in Colombia
IFC’s total portfolio in Colombia was $280 million as of June 2005.Since Colombia joined IFC in 1956, the Corporation has provided $1.4 billion, including syndications, for 58 companies.

The financial sector continues to be one of IFC’s priorities in Colombia, with special emphasis on housing finance and microfinance, as well as strengthening local capital markets and improving corporate governance. IFC’s strategy in the country also involves  increasing support to strategic sectors for economic growth in the context of free trade agreements. This strategy includes financing infrastructure projects such as port expansion, road and airport concessions, and support to companies in the logistic services sector. In addition, IFC seeks to finance oil and gas companies expanding in the region

About IFC

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 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, 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 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