Asunción, Paraguay, May 23, 2019—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a five-year US$100 million
loan to help Banco Continental S.A.E.C.A expand its lending program to
small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and agribusiness companies, helping
to increase job creation and economic growth in Paraguay.
SMEs play a central role in creating a dynamic,
competitive and inclusive economy. In spite of that, around 20% of SMEs
in Paraguay are either unserved or underserved in terms of financial products.
The agribusiness sector accounts for over 22% of Paraguay’s GDP, 65% of
its exports and over 19% of its labor force. Improving access to finance
and strengthening the competitiveness of both SMEs and agribusiness sectors
is thus critical for Paraguay’s economic development. IFC’s investment
in Banco Continental will help close the financing gap in those sectors.
With IFC’s financing, Banco Continental
will be able to provide its clients with funding at longer maturities and
more appropriate structures, helping them to enhance productivity and grow.
This is IFC’s fourth investment in Banco Continental. IFC and Continental
have been working together in Paraguay since 2008, when the bank joined
IFC's Global Trade Finance Program. In addition, IFC is currently working
with Continental on an advisory services initiative to support the bank
in its digital transformation.
“IFC’s investment in Continental will help
to reinforce our presence in two segments that are crucial for Paraguay”,
said Teresa Gaona, board member of Continental. “This loan demonstrates
IFC’s confidence in our capacity to lend to agribusiness companies and
SMEs, which are very important in our business strategy”.
Continental is the largest bank in Paraguay
in terms of loans and assets, offering financial products and services
for SMEs, corporates and individuals, with SMEs and corporates as its main
“IFC is pleased with this long-term partnership
with Continental,” said Marcelo Castellanos, IFC Regional Industry
Manager. “Through this new investment, Continental will be able to
extend the tenor of its lending to SMEs and agribusiness companies, which
is key to allow them to plan, grow and hire new employees,” he added.
In the past three fiscal years, IFC has committed
approximately $6 billion in the financial sector in the Latin America and
the Caribbean region, in long-term investments, including mobilization.
This financing to Banco Continental is part of IFC’s strategic focus on
supporting local financial markets to achieve development impact.
IFC’s strategy in Paraguay seeks to strengthen
the country’s competitiveness by providing financial products and advisory
services in key economic sectors, focusing on improving physical and digital
connectivity to boost export-led growth and economic diversification, managing
natural capital to integrate the agricultural and beef sectors into sustainable
value chains and increasing access to finance for SMEs to support the creation
of more and better jobs.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank
and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution
focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than
2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence
to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world.
In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing
for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to
end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information,
please visit www.ifc.org
About Banco Continental
Continental is a locally-owned commercial
bank headquartered in Asuncion that was established in 1980. As of March
2019, Continental was the largest bank in Paraguay in terms of loans, assets
and net worth. The bank is focused on SME financing with a significant
presence in the agribusiness segment and employs nearly 1,236 staff with
64 branches across the country. For more information, please visit: https://www.bancontinental.com.py