WASHINGTON, D.C., February 5, 1999 ---
The International Finance Corporation has approved an investment in Ecobank
Transnational Incorporated (ETI) in an effort to boost the domestic banking
sector in West Africa and support regional financial integration, IFC Executive
Vice President Peter Woicke -- who is in sub-Saharan Africa on a five-nation
tour -- announced today.
The investment of $7.5 million takes the form of equity and quasi-equity
in ETI, which has been in existence for 10 years. ETI is West Africa's
first indigenous banking group with seven banks located in Benin, Burkina
Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Togo. IFC's investment
will help ETI implement important strategic initiatives such as creating
new banks, launching specialized regional financial service companies,
increasing ETI's ownership stake in some of its affiliates, and upgrading
the group's technology and training capabilities to support growth.
The project will enhance ETI's institutional capability and enable it to
play a more effective role in supporting the economic development needs
of the region which has been dominated by foreign-owned or controlled banks.
IFC has supported ETI in the past by working directly with individual affiliates,
such as Ecobank Burkina Faso and Ecobank Ghana. The Ecobank network
of banks and IFC are also co-financing small and medium enterprises in
the region. In addition, IFC put ETI in touch with the African Management
Services Company (AMSCO), a training and management services company, which
IFC co-sponsors with other leading donors. AMSCO is providing ETI
with several senior managers and has signed an umbrella agreement to help
strengthen management of the rapidly expanding group.
IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing
world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the
international financial markets, and providing technical assistance and
advice to governments and businesses.