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IFC Makes Equity Investment in Micro Provident Botswana


In Washington:
Georg Schmidt

Phone: +1 (202) 458-2934

Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:
Gschmidt@ifc.org


Gaborone/Washington, D.C., January 4, 2005—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement to acquire a minority equity stake in Micro Provident Botswana (Letshego), the leading consumer finance company in Botswana.  The Netherlands Development Finance Company FMO and two private equity funds, Pan-African Investment Partners and Pan Commonwealth African Partners, will also invest in Letshego.  

“We are pleased to support the development of this key financial sector institution dedicated to serving lower-income groups,” said Jyrki Koskelo, IFC’s director for Global Financial Markets.  “IFC is committed to supporting local financial institutions that set new standards in terms of customer service.  Our investment will help Letshego strengthen its leading position among consumer finance companies in Botswana and set an example for others to follow.”


Richard Ranken, IFC’s regional director for Sub-Saharan Africa, added, “We want to encourage the growth of well-managed financial institutions that serve the widest possible customer base.  This investment will help diversify financial markets in Botswana, where household demand for competitively priced financial services growing rapidly”


Established in 1998, Letshego is now the largest consumer finance company in Botswana.  It provides short- to medium-term loan products to employees of public, quasi-public, and private sector companies in Botswana, with loans being repaid by payroll deduction.  Letshego has more than 30,000 clients and a total loan portfolio of $45 million equivalent.

 
The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.