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IFC Global Trade Finance Program Expands to Democratic Republic of Congo, Boosting International Trade Prospects for Local Businesses


In Washington, DC:
Lotte Pang
Phone: +1 (202) 758 4290
E-mail:
lpang@ifc.org

In Kinshasa:
Adamou Labara
Phone: +243 99 994 9015 or +243 81 700 5215
E-mail: alabara@ifc.org

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

Washington, DC, October 26, 2007 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced that Rawbank, a leading financial institution in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the first bank in the country to join the IFC Global Trade Finance Program. The program is providing the bank with a $3 million facility to support its international trade finance operations. This transaction expands on IFC’s advisory services in the country, which are helping build a robust private sector and contribute to the country’s overall development.

The IFC Global Trade Finance Program was launched in 2005 to support trade with emerging markets worldwide and promote flows of goods and services between developing countries. IFC provides guarantee coverage of bank risk in emerging markets, allowing recipients to expand their trade finance transactions within an extensive network of countries and banks and to enhance their trade finance coverage.  

IFC will issue guarantees against Rawbank’s underlying trade transactions, covering payment risk and helping increase the DRC’s global trade volumes.

“Increasing trade volumes is an important way of promoting economic development in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Thierry Taeymans, Rawbank’s CEO.  “We are pleased to work with IFC to help our clients increase their share of global trade.”

IFC is expanding its activities in the world’s poorest countries and those seeking to stimulate private sector development. IFC is also trying to do more to support post-conflict countries, especially in Africa. The DRC is emerging from more than a decade of conflict and remains one of the world’s poorest countries, with gross domestic product of $143 per capita.

“A vibrant private sector is the driver of economic growth and critical to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s development,” said Jyrki Koskelo, IFC Vice President for Africa and Global Financial Markets. “IFC hopes to increase its activities in the country so that private companies can contribute more to development.”

To date, the IFC Global Trade Finance Program has provided $1.4 billion worth of guarantees to issuing banks in developing countries.  More than half of these have been issued to support trade in Africa.

Typically, banks in the Democratic Republic of Congo are required to post cash as collateral for all of their trade-related transactions, making it expensive for companies to trade with their overseas counterparts. IFC’s agreement with Rawbank will reduce the cost and risks associated with such transactions.

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 Rawbank
Rawbank started operations in 2002 and is a prominent banking institution in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The bank holds a universal banking license and provides an array of financial solutions to individuals, corporates, and small and medium enterprises. It has a deposit base of more than $125 million and is well positioned in the corporate market, with a client base that includes some of the largest domestic and foreign companies operating in the country. It also has one of the best correspondent bank networks to facilitate trade finance services to its clients.

Rawbank is the first bank to launch MasterCard products in the country. It is also one of the few local banks offering an electronic payment platform to its clients. It has a good network of ATMs called “RAPIDOS” and is also one of the franchisees of MoneyGram International and Celpay.