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IFC and Ecobank to Strengthen Africa’s Financial Sector and Increase Loans to Smaller Businesses


In Johannesburg:
Houtan Bassiri
Phone:  +27 83 701 6748
E-mail:
hbassiri@ifc.org

In Washington, D.C.:
Lotte Pang
Phone: +1 202 758 4290
E-mail: lpang@ifc.org


Accra, Ghana, September 19, 2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated announced that they are joining forces to strengthen Africa’s banking sector and increase lending to small and medium enterprises that have difficulty accessing credit.

IFC will provide a financing package of up to $213 million to Ecobank, consisting of a $100 million convertible loan to support the bank’s regional expansion, a $25 million loan and advisory services to Ecobank Nigeria to promote lending to smaller businesses, and up to $88 million in guarantees against the underlying trade transactions of several Ecobank subsidiaries—including those in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo.

IFC also plans to work with Ecobank to increase financing for critical sectors, including agribusiness, education, health, housing, and infrastructure.

“In the past three years, we have strengthened our network and operations across Africa, which has allowed us to reach a larger number of people more efficiently and increase our impact,” said Arnold Ekpe, Ecobank’s CEO. “Working with IFC will enable us to reach even more regions and contribute more directly to economic development.”

“Improving access to finance and building strong financial markets are a key focus of IFC’s strategy to strengthen the private sector in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Yolande Duhem, IFC Director for West and Central Africa. “Working with Ecobank’s extensive network will enable us to have a greater development impact in the region.”

Ecobank has collaborated with IFC on many projects over the past 15 years. In 2007, IFC provided $40 million in funding to Ecobank Ghana.


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.

About Ecobank
Incorporated in 1985, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated is the parent company of the leading independent regional banking group in Africa. The bank is listed on the stock exchanges in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria. The Ecobank Group operates in 25 African countries and is owned by more than 7,000 shareholders. The group has over 8,000 employees in about 500 branches. Ecobank is a full-service bank that provides wholesale, retail, investment, and transaction banking services and products to governments; financial institutions; multinationals; international organizations; micro,  small, and medium businesses; and individuals. For more information, visit www.ecobank.com.