Press Releases

IFC Helps Boost Private Sector Access to Bank Credit and Strengthen Banking in Mauritania

Ahmed Badawi-Malik
Phone: +1 (202) 458-7148

Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4384


WASHINGTON D.C., May 20, 2004 — The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today signed an agreement to provide a senior loan of up to $5 million and a subordinated loan of up to $5 million, which will be classified as Tier II capital according to BIS banking regulations, to Generale de Banque de Mauritanie (GBM). GBM is Mauritania’s largest bank, with assets of $107 million equivalent and equity of $33 million equivalent in 2003. The bank - in which Belgium’s Belgolaise Bank has a 30 percent equity stake - was incorporated in 1995 and provides banking services to the corporate and retail markets.

The $10 million loan, IFC’s fourth investment in GBM, will be used to alleviate the current dearth of long-term project finance for local private firms. Generale Banque de Mauritanie will also deploy the loan to strengthen its capital base, ahead of opportunities for regional expansion. Jyrki Koskelo, IFC Director for Global Financial Markets, said, "IFC’s provision of Tier II capital to Generale Banque de Mauritanie is a landmark in the maturing of Mauritania’s financial sector, as it will give the bank and its customers access to long-term finance.” He added, “IFC expects that this latest loan will provide a potent example to other banks in Mauritania on how to strengthen their capital bases to better serve the needs of their clients and reduce systemic risk in the sector.”

According to Haydee Celaya, IFC Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, "GBM is an innovative and well-managed financial institution, and this partnership gives IFC an opportunity to support the development of innovative financial instruments in Mauritania.” She added, “IFC’s latest investment in Mauritania will promote confidence among other banks in the country.”

Issa Cheiguer, Assistant Managing Director of GBM, noted, "We are extremely pleased with the successful partnership that we have developed with IFC. We welcome IFC’s fourth investment in GBM, which comes at an important time of GBM’s growth, as the corporation fully understands our vision of becoming a stronger bank both within Mauritania and in the North-West African region.”

The mission of IFC ( 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 FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.