WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 1 -- The International
Finance Corporation (IFC) will invest up to CFAF 90 million (equivalent
to about US$160,000 since the recent devaluation of the CFA franc) in Sogeca,
a hire-purchase company in Senegal that is increasing its capital base.
IFC will also provide the company with a term loan of FF 6 million (US$1
million equivalent). Sogeca, Senegal's only non-bank specialized lender
serving small and medium-sized enterprises, plans to expand its services
to include leasing finance. CBAO, Senegal's largest indigenous bank and
its third largest commercial bank, will hold 32 percent of Sogeca's share
capital; IFC and Proparco will each hold 20 percent. The equity stake held
by Sogeca's existing shareholders will be diluted to 28 percent of the
larger capital base. The technical partner is GIEFCA, a French company
that provides management support to West Africa's largest network of leasing
companies. Sogeca's expansion will contribute to the development of small
and medium-sized industr
ial companies in Senegal, which are currently constrained by the unavailability
of term lending. According to IFC officials, IFC was "the driving
force behind" the expansion. It structured the financing, identified
the partners and brought them to the table, and managed the negotiations.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral source
of financing for private sector projects in developing countries. Since
1967 IFC has committed loans and equity investments totaling $56 million
for projects in Senegal.