IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a $60 million investment in a regional risk-sharing facility to support Bank of Africa Group’s lending to small and medium enterprises in eight African countries, facilitating growth and job creation in the region.

The investment was made possible with support from the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility (WEOF), launched by IFC through its Banking on Women Program, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women. Further support came from the Global SME Finance Facility, a blended-finance partnership among IFC, the UK Department for International Development, and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

IFC’s investment will cover as much as 50 percent of the risk on up to $120 million equivalent in loans to local SME’s in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania and Togo. Half the facility is earmarked for women-run businesses, and for climate-related improvements, such as energy efficient equipment upgrades, small solar or biomass systems, and climate-smart agricultural supply chains.

Cristina Shapiro, Head of 10,000 Women, said, “Goldman Sachs research shows that closing the credit gap for women-owned SMEs in emerging markets could push income per capita an average of 12 percent higher by 2030. Women entrepreneurs have real potential to impact Africa’s future growth. Through this partnership, we will help to build resilient, women-owned businesses, and enable women entrepreneurs to reach their full potential with the capital and support they need.”

Oumar Seydi, IFC Regional Director for Africa, said, “Expanding SME financing, especially in markets where risks are higher, is an important pillar of IFC’s Africa strategy. This facility will allow BOA to extend over 5000 loans to underserved SME’s in the next five years. It could have a transformational impact in the participating countries, seven of which are low income, and five fragile or conflict-affected.”

SMEs are a prime source of growth, jobs and innovation, but can only succeed when they can access sufficient financing. In sub-Saharan Africa, where roughly 350 million new jobs will be needed in the next 20 years, they account for 30 to 60 percent of GDP, and 67 percent of jobs.

The WEOF is a facility dedicated to expanding access to capital for 100,000 women entrepreneurs globally. IFC’s Banking on Women Program has committed 64 investments globally worth $1.71 billion, and advised on 39 projects since its launch in 2010. Of these, the WEOF has supported about $1 billion in commitments to financial institutions in 26 countries.

IFC plays a significant role helping SMEs access financing. The Global SME Finance Facility is a key part of this strategy, helping financial institutions better meet the financial needs of SMEs. Since its creation in 2012, the Global SME Finance Facility has provided investment and advisory solutions to more than 130 projects in 32 countries, strengthening financial infrastructure in low-income markets. It has committed over $1 billion in investments.

About Bank of Africa Group
Bank of Africa Group is presently established in 18 countries, 8 of which are in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Togo and Senegal), 8 in East Africa and the Indian Ocean region (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) as well as in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in France. Bank of Africa Group has its majority shareholding held by BMCE Bank the third bank in Morocco. It provides solid strategic and operational support to Bank of Africa Group, as well as direct access to international markets thanks to its presence in Europe, Asia and North America. Established over 35 years ago, BOA Group presently has 6,000 employees and a consolidated balance sheet of €7.7 billion and consolidated net profit of €125.3 million as at December 31st, 2017, with €76 million Group profit.

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 FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

About Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative is a campaign to foster economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs around the world with a business and management education and access to capital. The initiative has reached women from across 56 countries through a network of 100 academic, nonprofit, and bank partners. In partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women launched the first of its kind global finance facility in 2014 to enable access to capital to more women entrepreneurs.


– IFC (International Finance Corporation) press release.