IFC Helps Bank of Africa Côte d'Ivoire Support Trade, Small Business Growth
ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire, December 17, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has committed a $2 million trade finance guarantee to Bank of Africa Côte d'Ivoire and signed an agreement to provide the bank with advisory services to help it increase lending to smaller businesses in the country.
IFC's support for BOACI will help hundreds of the bank's small business clients gain financing to engage in cross-border trade, or to take loans to buy equipment or material for expansion. IFC's advisory support program aims to help BOACI grow its portfolio of small business loans by 20 percent by 2016.
Lala Moulaye, Director General of the BOACI, said, “The trade finance guarantee from IFC will allow us to better support Côte d'Ivoire's smaller importers and exporters. This partnership will help BOACI finance smaller businesses, grow its SME portfolio, and enhance its presence in international markets.”
Peer Stein, IFC Access to Finance Advisory Director, said, “IFC's partnership with BOACI will help strengthen Côte d'Ivoire's financial infrastructure and its small business sector, which plays a critical role in job creation and the health of the country's economy. IFC is committed to Côte d'Ivoire's long-term growth and our investments in the country are expected to total $250 million this fiscal year.”
IFC's one-year advisory support program is specifically designed to help BOACI improve its market knowledge of the SME sector, roll out an SME strategy, and improve its risk management framework. IFC will also train about sixty BOACI staff on risk management and working with SMEs.
The $2 million trade finance facility, provided by IFC's Global Trade Finance Program, will allow BOACI to establish working partnerships with a number of major international and regional confirming banks in the program, strengthening regional trade.
Although Côte d'Ivoire is one of the strongest and most diversified economies in West Africa, its smaller businesses still struggle to obtain the financing and support they need to expand or take on more employees.
IFC's partnership with BOACI is part of its broader strategy to help Côte d'Ivoire's smaller businesses more easily obtain financing and access training opportunities. IFC is also supporting growth in Côte d'Ivoire's power, tourism, and agribusiness sectors and, with the World Bank, is advising the country on investment climate reforms.