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New IFC and Ecobank Facility to Finance SMEs in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States


For IFC
In Abidjan
Hafsa Dia-Enoh
Phone: + 225 22400448
Email: hdiabatchily@ifc.org

In Washington:
John McNally
Phone: +1-202-458-0723
Email: jmcnally@ifc.org

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, May 26, 2015—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, parent company of the Ecobank Group and leading pan-African full-service banking group, today announced the launch of a $110 million risk-sharing facility. It will increase access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises in fragile and conflict-affected states in West and Central Africa.

The target countries— Burundi, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mali and Togo—face extreme and persistent poverty exceeding 50 percent of their populations, coupled with severe socio-economic challenges, such as low employment, lack of infrastructure, and high insecurity that disrupts business activity and impedes access to finance. These difficult environments have exacerbated the challenges faced by small and medium-sized enterprises, which represent the backbone of the participating countries’ economies and provide the bulk of employment.

Ecobank remains committed to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, and this facility will go a long way to giving SMEs in fragile states or those emerging from conflict the kind of access to finance that they need,” said Ecobank Group CEO Albert Essien. He added: “We are pleased to be a founding member of the Global SME Finance Forum and to be able to play a part in the launching of SME Club campaigns in many African countries. This includes participating countries for this project.”

The facility is designed to overcome the challenges of lending to these smaller businesses which have a higher risk profile, in what are some of the world’s poorest countries.  With IFC and Ecobank sharing risk equally in the $110 million facility, SMEs in the target countries will gain increased access to loans through Ecobank affiliates.

“IFC places a strategic priority on promoting financial inclusion and spur job creation in fragile- and conflict-affected situations,” said Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Vice President for Global Client Services. “Our partnership will enable Ecobank to better support small and medium enterprises that face difficulty accessing credit to grow their businesses in these economies.”

IFC and Ecobank enjoy a long-standing collaboration dating back to 1993, through which these partners have delivered innovative and customized initiatives to underserved markets across sub-Saharan Africa. Thanks to ETI’s unrivaled reach in Africa, IFC has been able to extend financial access in difficult environments at a scale that few other IFC-partner financial institutions can match. Most recently, IFC extended an emergency liquidity facility in response to the Ebola crisis through Ecobank’s affiliates in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the most impacted countries. ETI continues to be a key partner of IFC in the markets where it operates.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

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About Ecobank
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 20,000 people in 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.
More information can be found on the Group's website: ecobank.com or on Twitter: @GroupEcobank

For Ecobank
In Lome:
Mireille Bokpe
Phone: +228 22 21 0303
Email: mbokpe@ecobank.com