Monrovia, Liberia, January 23, 2009—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today announced that Liberia’s first
commercial microfinance bank has received a banking license and is making
loans to the public, boosting the country’s economy by providing finance
to its smallest businesses, many of which have had no access to financial
IFC is a founding shareholder in AccessBank
Liberia, which received a preliminary banking license from Liberia’s central
bank in July. Since then, the bank has hired and trained loan officers,
tailored savings and credit products to the Liberian market, and ensured
that all of its systems comply with Liberian law.
The bank officially opened its doors
to the public today after receiving a formal banking license on Wednesday.
“IFC has supported AccessBank Liberia
through every stage of its development,” said Mary Odong, the bank’s
CEO. “AccessBank Liberia looks forward to a continued partnership with
IFC to increase financial services to Liberia’s smallest entrepreneurs
and help support the country’s economic development.”
AccessBank Liberia is the culmination
of a two-year partnership between IFC and Liberia’s government. IFC initially
worked with partners at Liberia’s Central Bank, the International Monetary
Fund, and within the World Bank Group to build a regulatory framework based
on global best practices in microfinance. IFC will continue to work with
Liberia’s central bank to strengthen its capacity to supervise microfinance
“The successful launch of AccessBank
Liberia demonstrates IFC’s commitment to Liberia and our strong belief
in the potential of the country’s private sector,” said Jumoke Jagun,
IFC resident representative for Liberia. “Supporting Africa’s smallest
businesses and entrepreneurs by helping to extend financial services to
people and places where they are most needed is a crucial part of our Africa
AccessBank Liberia was established in
partnership with Access Holding. IFC previously worked with Access Holding
to establish successful microfinance banks in Madagascar and Tanzania.
The European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank are also
shareholders in the new institution.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives.
We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting
private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory
and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments
totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous
year. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.