Dakar, Senegal, September 12, 2013
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) have signed a partnership agreement for the promotion of credit bureaus. The credit bureaus will operate in the eight countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), and should lead to a significant increase in the number of bank loans in the region.
Mrs Fatimatou Zahra Diop, BCEAO Secretary General, stated, “Together with financial actors and with the support of our technical partners, particularly IFC, the BCEAO is determined to strengthen and modernize the zone’s financial infrastructure. Our goal is to remove obstacles to healthy financial intermediation and substantially increase the funding of the Union’s economies, in accordance with the guidelines of the West African Economic and Monetary Union’s Heads of State and Government Conference.”
Yolande Duhem, IFC Director for West and Central Africa, said, “With a lack of information about clients’ creditworthiness, West African banks are hesitant to grant loans. The introduction of regional credit bureaus should provide thousands of consumers with the possibility of accessing finance.”
On June 28, 2013 the UEMOA Council of Ministers approved a law applicable to the eight members that provides a legal framework for the creation of regional credit information bureaus.
The UEMOA’s eight member countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. A credit bureau is a structure that collects and records information on a borrower’s credit and payment history. This information, once compiled into credit reports, can be used by financial institutions to optimize their risk management and granting of credit.
This project, financed in part by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), is part of the IFC Access to Finance program with the goal to increase the accessibility of formal financial services for individuals and micro, small and medium enterprises.
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