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IFC to Help Boost Financing for Smaller Businesses in Haiti


In Lima:
Clara Ugarte Perrin, IFC        
Phone: +511 611 2501
E-mail:
Cugarteperrin@ifc.org

In Haiti:
Hervé Délorme, Sogebank
Phone: 22 29 50 06
E-mail: hdelorme@sogebank.com


Port Au Prince, Haiti, April 29, 2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement with Haiti’s Sogebank S.A. to help boost financing for local micro, small, and medium enterprises, which employ about 80 percent of local workers and are key contributors to the economy.

IFC is providing advisory services to strengthen the organizational structure of Sogebank’s small and medium enterprise department. The project will enable the bank, over a five-year period, to reach more than 2,500 active SME borrowers, eight times more than in 2008. It will also help increase their access to sustainable financial services.

“IFC’s support will help us improve our credit line approach small businesses by creating products and services targeted to their needs” said M. Robert Moscoso, Sogebank’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He added that “Sogebank’s banking network will use its resources to make this project a success, and expand the community’s access to credit, while preserving the bank assets’ quality."

IFC’s advisory role focuses primarily on credit and lending activities, but additional services for small businesses are being considered, including deposits and transactional services.  
 
IFC is also considering a $4million equity investment in Sogebank. In a country were only 1 percent of the population has access to formal credit, supporting one of the soundest financial institutions will help improve access to finance, especially for underserved groups like micro, small, and medium enterprises. It could also promote greater competitiveness and efficiency in the local market.

Luke Haggarty, IFC General Manager for Advisory Services in Latin America and the Caribbean, said: “This initiative shows IFC’s commitment to stimulating economic growth in Haiti and enhancing the delivery of basic financial services  to underserved microentrepreneurs and small businesses. An expansion of SME credit could increase employment and help SMEs make a more sustainable contribution to the local economy.”

IFC works with financial institutions in the Latin American and Caribbean region to enhance their capacity to provide financial services to small businesses locally. IFC’s strategy in Haiti focuses on promoting economic growth and improving access to basic services, particularly for the most vulnerable groups. IFC has ramped up its activities in Haiti over the past two years, and has recently placed staff in the local office to promote rapid growth for its investment and advisory program.
       
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About Sogebank S.A.
Sogebank is the leading commercial bank in Haiti. Its activities comprise retail and corporate banking, microfinance, remittance distribution, and factoring, which operate as independent businesses through subsidiaries. Sogebank has the largest branch network in the country with 42 branches, and a solid image and reputation. For more information, visit  www.sogebank.com.