Press Releases

IFC Supports Women Entrepreneurship with $5 Million Loan to Exim Bank, Tanzania

In Dar Es Salaam/Johannesburg
Daniel Musiitwa
Phone: + (2783) 455 5477

Dar Es Salaam, February 26, 2007 – IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has provided a loan to Exim Bank, Tanzania, to finance women-owned businesses.  IFC’s $5 million financing makes Exim Bank the first financial institution in Tanzania to dedicate lines of credit to women entrepreneurs.

IFC’s funding will allow Exim Bank to meet the financing needs of its female clients, particularly those running small and medium enterprises. IFC’s Gender Entrepreneurship Markets program will provide comprehensive assistance and training to help the bank reach out to the women’s market as well as make business and management training available for women entrepreneurs.

Speaking at the signing, Rachel Kyte, IFC’s Director for Environment and Social Development, said, “We aim, with this investment and our advisory services, to bridge the gap between women entrepreneurs who need financing and banks that are looking for new customers. Our experience is that businesswomen have a better repayment rate than their male counterparts and that they contribute more to household income and to schooling for their children. We hope our investment will translate into improved livelihoods for a wide cross-section of society and will show the financial sector more broadly that lending to women owned business makes good banking sense.”

S. M. J. Mwambenja, Managing Director of Exim Bank, said, “Lending to women entrepreneurs is part of Exim Bank’s five-year strategic plan to explore new areas of growth. Being the first bank in Tanzania to target the women’s market will give us the competitive edge we are looking for.”

The financial services sector in Tanzania, as elsewhere in the region, is becoming more competitive, with banks seeking opportunities to differentiate themselves. At the same time, women entrepreneurs who seek financing to develop their businesses face a number of obstacles.  Few women possess land titles, which are often required as collateral for loans; and women’s applications are often not taken seriously by bank officers.  While women’s access to microfinance is easier, the maximum loan size and tenor from microfinance is often too low.  Meanwhile, woman entrepreneurs running midsize enterprises frequently lack the training and financial resources they need to gear up their businesses for growth.

Jyrki Koskelo, Director of IFC’s Financial Markets Department, said, “Focusing on women-owned businesses, currently a vastly underserved sector in the country, will allow Exim Bank to expand considerably its lending to SMEs. By partnering with Exim Bank, IFC will support women entrepreneurs’ increased participation in Tanzania’s economy and thus hopes to contribute to the country’s development.”

IFC’s lending to Exim Bank is part of a wider program to increase access to finance for women entrepreneurs in Africa. IFC provided Access Bank in Nigeria with a $15 million loan in June 2006 to extend lines of credit to women entrepreneurs. Similarly, in October 2006, IFC provided DFCU in Uganda with a $6 million loan.

Yogesh Manek, Chairman of Exim Bank, registered his bank’s appreciation for the support that IFC has been extending since 2003.  He reiterated that with the line of credit the bank will be able to finance more women-owned small and medium enterprises.

About Exim Bank
Exim Bank is a member of the Global Banking Alliance for Women, a worldwide group of banks that are sharing best practices to accelerate the global growth and development of women's businesses and women's wealth creation.  It is the first member bank from Tanzania.

Exim Bank started operations in Tanzania in 1997 and has recorded remarkable growth during its nine years of operations, as well as improvements in all key financial performance indicators.  As of December 2006, the bank recorded a profit of 8.2 billion Tanzanian shillings (net after provisions).  The deposit base increased to 226.4 billion shillings, with a loan portfolio of 120.8 billion.  The bank’s asset base grew to 268.0 billion shillings.

Exim Bank has expanded its network across Tanzania to 10 branches, with locations in Dar es Salaam main, Clock Tower, Hill Park, Temeke, Mtwara, Arusha, Tanga, Morogoro, Mwanza and Moshi. Exim plans to open three more branches during 2007 to reach more and more customers.

In July 2006, Exim Bank became the first and only bank to introduce international credit cards issued in Tanzania.  Now Tanzanians can shop online, purchase goods at over 24 million merchant outlets, and access cash at over 1 million ATMs worldwide.  Exim Bank has already installed 22 ATMs in Tanzania to facilitate delivery of this service. For more information, please visit

About IFC
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.  IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit

In Washington, D.C.
Lucie Giraud
Phone: +1 (202) 458 4662

In Dar Es Salaam
Christina Manyenye
Phone: +(255) 754 275621