Cape Town, June 5, 2008—IFC, a
member of the World Bank Group, today announced that it will help launch
Advans Banque Congo, a new microfinance institution in the Democratic Republic
of Congo. The transaction is the latest in IFC’s microfinance strategy
for Africa, under which IFC plans to support loans to more than 400,000
small entrepreneurs in Africa’s poorest regions in the next five years.
IFC aims to increase access to funds
in Africa’s poorest areas through commercially viable microfinance institutions.
With this strategy, IFC plans to help establish five such institutions
annually over the next several years. IFC’s equity investment of
up to $1.1 million in Advans Banque Congo’s shares will support the launch
and help the company reach entrepreneurs in a conflict-affected country
where most people lack access to financial services. This will be followed
by a loan of up to $2 million to support growth of Advans Banque Congo’s
“Microfinance institutions provide
valuable support to entrepreneurs and small businesses in developing countries.
They also play a key role in improving financial infrastructure,” said
Claude Falgon, Manager of Advans. “Working with IFC will enable us to
reach underserved people, helping create jobs and reduce poverty.”
Advans Banque Congo will also receive
advice on how to implement best practices; adhere to international social,
environmental, and anti-money laundering standards; and train local staff.
These services will be delivered by Horus Development Finance, Advans’
“IFC is working to expand financial
services where they are needed most, particularly in Africa’s poorest
countries and those emerging from conflict,” said Thierry Tanoh, IFC Director
for Sub-Saharan Africa. “Microfinance is a critical tool in the fight
against poverty and a central part of IFC’s strategy to support the development
of a vibrant private sector in the region.”
Advans Banque Congo will be established
in partnership with German development bank KfW, with which IFC has a collaboration
agreement to mobilize more than $100 million for new microfinance institutions
across Sub-Saharan Africa. It will be set up by Advans S.A. SICAR, a Luxembourg-based
company. IFC has worked with Advans and Horus in other transactions, including
in Cameroon and Ghana.
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 people should 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
syndications 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.
Advans S.A. SICAR was created in August 2005 and has its headquarters in
Luxembourg. Its mission is to build a network of microfinance institutions
in developing and emerging countries that cater to the banking needs of
micro, small, and medium enterprises, with limited or no access to formal
banking services. The company 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. Its total committed
share capital is €14.1 million. For more information, visit www.advansgroup.com.