Tunis, Tunisia, February 18, 2019—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, signed an agreement with Banque de l’Habitat
today to launch a pioneering project that will help the bank boost financial
inclusion for women in Tunisia and launch a digital offering for its customers.
IFC’s advisory services will support Banque
de l’Habitat in setting up a program tailored to female clients, including
financial and non-financial services – the first of its kind in Tunisia.
The project will also include advice on developing a scalable digital strategy,
allowing the bank to offer a new digital experience to its clients.
“These two projects are critical for the
bank. They are part of an ongoing process to improve our transformation
and social engagement,” said Ahmed Rjiba, Banque de l’Habitat Managing
The partnership is part of IFC efforts to
help boost access to finance and create economic opportunities for women
in Tunisia. Just 28 percent of women in Tunisia are part of the formal
financial system. In addition, only 14 percent of micro, small, and medium
enterprises are women-owned, with almost half of those having no access
to the financial services they need.
Digital finance is also lagging in Tunisia,
with only 2 percent of adults having access to mobile money accounts. There
is an enormous potential for growth in this sector. Using technology can
help banks expand their reach to financially underserved populations.
“Financial inclusion is key for the future
of the Tunisian economy,” said Riadh Naouar, IFC Manager, Financial Institutions
Group Advisory, Middle East and Africa. “IFC’s Banking on Women program
helps local financial institutions develop dedicated products and services
for women entrepreneurs so they can access the financing they need to grow
their business. By using new digital technologies to expand their reach,
financial institutions can also drive inclusive economic growth across
The project is part of IFC’s Women Banking
Champions program in the Middle East and North Africa, which is supported
by the Swiss Confederation and IFC’s Global Banking on Women program.
It aims to help partners and financial institutions serve women-owned businesses
profitably and sustainably. IFC has launched 40 projects in 27 countries
under the program.
About Banque de l’Habitat
Banque de l’Habitat is the second-largest
state-owned bank in Tunisia and the third-largest bank in general in terms
of assets, with $3.5 billion as of 2017. Banque de l’Habitat has 129 branches
and more than 698,337 clients, of which 37 percent are women. Originally
focused on the housing and real estate sectors, Banque de l’Habitat is
currently moving to a universal bank model to offer a full range of retail
and commercial banking services.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank
and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution
focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than
2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence
to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world.
In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing
for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to
end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information,