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Liberia’s First Microfinance Institution Starts Operations with IFC’s Support


In Monrovia:
Baindu Ken
Phone: +231 6 930 916
Cell: +231 6 540 988
Email: bken@ifc.org

In Johannesburg:
Houtan Bassiri
Phone: +27 11 7313179
E-mail: hbassiri@ifc.org


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 services.

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 lending.

“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 strategy.”

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.

About IFC
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.