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IFC and COOPENAE Strengthen Access to Finance for Micro and Small Enterprises in Costa Rica


In Lima, Peru:
Clara Ugarte Perrin, IFC

Phone: +511 611 2501

E-mail:
Cugarteperrin@ifc.org

In San José, Costa Rica:

Gustavo Ulloa, COOPENAE

Phone: +506 2257 9060

E-mail: gulloa@coopeane.fi.cr


San Jose, Costa Rica, Feb 28, 2012—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping Costa Rican financial cooperative COOPENAE increase the availability of financial services for micro and small enterprises in the country, spurring job creation and economic growth.

Micro and small enterprises are a significant driver of the Costa Rican economy, representing 94 percent of formal companies and providing 33 percent of private sector jobs. Yet they are underserved by financial institutions.


This initiative, supported by the government of Spain’s Spanish Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean, will provide advisory services to help COOPENAE identify areas for improvement in its current micro and small enterprise credit operations and strengthen its institutional capabilities to better serve this market. In addition, IFC is providing $15 million in financing to help COOPENAE to expand its operations in the country.


COOPENAE, Costa Rica's biggest savings and credit cooperative and fifth largest private financial institution, has started to address a significant component of the micro and small enterprise segment, due to the saturation of its original consumer loan target market and the need to diversify risks.


"The mission of COOPENAE focuses on improving the quality of life of our partners by directing our efforts to the productive sector of the country and ensuring a greater competitiveness through financing for micro and small enterprises,” said Adrian Alvarez, COOPENAE’s General Manager.


Dan Shepherd, IFC Acting Program Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean, said: “This project shows IFC’s commitment in Central America to fostering opportunities that develop regional capital markets and strengthen local financial institutions. As in other countries in Latin America, micro and small enterprises are the backbone of the economy in Costa Rica, so expanding access to finance to this segment is paramount for economic growth in the country.”


About COOPENAE

COOPENAE was created in 1966 to serve the public education system. The cooperative currently has over 79,000 registered members and its operations are conducted nationwide through its 19 offices. COOPENAE is the largest regulated financial cooperative in Costa Rica in terms of assets and loans ($686 million and $468 million, respectively) and has a strong deposit base ($382 million). For more information about COOPENAE, visit
www.coopenae.fi.cr.

About the Spanish Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean (SFLAC)

SFLAC is a trust fund established by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness to provide resources to enhance the impact of the World Bank Group´s development activities, both analytical and operational in this region.
 
About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $19 billion in fiscal 2011, in more than 500 projects in 102 countries.  For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

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