WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 30—The International
Finance Corporation (IFC) today signed an agreement to make an equity investment
of US$300,000 in Ecobank Burkina Faso (EBF), the first fully private bank
in Burkina Faso.
EBF provides a broad array of commercial banking services, including trade
finance, and offers specialized products, such as fund transfers throughout
West Africa. It is the sixth bank established in as many West African countries
by Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the region's only indigenous
banking group. ETI is responsible for managing EBF as well as training
about 30 local employees, primarily through temporary secondment of experienced
staff from ETI's affiliates in Benin, C"te d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria,
and Togo. "A strong private financial sector is the basis for economic
growth in West Africa," said Mr. Cesare Calari, Director of IFC's
Sub-Saharan Africa Department. "As a credible financial intermediary
with privileged access to other financial centers in West Africa, EBF will
help to improve economic efficiency by increasing the mobilization of domestic
savings and facilitating the regional integration of Burkinabe entrepreneurs."
"Through the introduction of modern banking products to Burkina Faso,
EBF is raising the standards for competition in the country's banking sector
and is creating a more client-based environment," added Mr. Arnold
Ekpe, ETI's Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Ekpe was present at IFC's Washington DC headquarters for the signing
ceremony. Representing IFC were Mr. Calari; Mr. Bahadurali Jetha, Manager,
Capital Markets, Africa; Mr. Roy Karaoglan, Banking Specialist, Central
Capital Markets; Ms. Jennifer Cockburn, Principal Counsel, Legal Department;
and Mr. Papa Ndiaye, Investment Officer, Africa.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral source
of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing