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IFC Supports New Microfinance Institutions in Cameroon and Ghana to Increase Access to Financial Services


In Johannesburg
Houtan Bassiri
Phone: +(27)11 731 3179
E-mail: hbassiri@ifc.org

In Washington, D.C:
Lotte Pang                                
Phone: +(202) 458-0952
E-mail:
lpang@ifc.org


Johannesburg, October 15, 2007—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced that it will invest in and provide advisory services to two new microfinance institutions in Cameroon and Ghana to help improve their financial infrastructure and bring financial services to more people and businesses. The projects were recently approved by IFC’s Board of Directors as part of an initiative to support several new microfinance institutions in Africa.

IFC will invest equity of up to 265 million Central African francs (about $540,000) and up to 480,000 Ghanaian cedis (about $520,000) in Advans Cameroon and Advans Ghana respectively, two greenfield microfinance institutions. Both institutions were recently formed by Advans S.A. SICAR, formerly known as La Fayette Investissement, a company based in Luxembourg that makes equity investments in newly established and early-stage microfinance institutions in developing countries. IFC’s equity investments are expected to be followed by loans to support each of the new institutions’ portfolio growth.

IFC’s support will also include an advisory services package to help introduce microfinance best practices; ensure adherence to international social, environmental, and anti-money laundering standards; and train local staff. Horus Development Finance, Advans’ technical partner, will provide the advisory services.

“Microfinance institutions provide valuable support to entrepreneurs and small businesses in developing countries and play a key role in helping improve the financial infrastructure,” said Claude Falgon, Manager of Advans. “Working with IFC will enable us to reach the underserved segment of the financial market, as well as contribute to creating employment and reducing poverty.”

“IFC’s investments in Advans Cameroon and Advans Ghana are part of our global strategy to support the commercial viability of small and medium enterprises,” said Jyrki Koskelo, IFC Vice President for Africa and Global Financial Markets. “Well-managed microfinance institutions that are commercially viable help create a sustainable financial architecture that can provide financial services to all segments of the population.”

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About Advans
Advans S.A. SICAR, formerly La Fayette Investissement, was created in August 2005 and is headquartered in Luxembourg. Its mission is to build a network of microfinance institutions in developing and emerging countries to cater to the banking needs of micro, small, and medium enterprises, which have limited or no access to formal banking services. Advans was created by Horus Development Finance, with the backing of several development financial institutions: Agence Française de Développement, European Investment Bank, Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappijvoor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V., IFC, and KfW Entwicklungsbank. Total committed share capital is 14.1 million euros. For more information, visit www.advansgroup.com.