Press Releases

IFC, Banque de l’Habitat Launch Pioneering Project to Boost Access to Finance for Women in Tunisia

In Rabat:
Catherine Gozard, IFC
Phone: +212 537 544 381

In Tunis:
Imen Messadi, Banque de l’Habitat
Phone: +216 71 126 413  

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 Director.

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 country.

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.

About IFC
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, visit

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