Libreville, Gabon, November 19, 2013
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today launched its SME Toolkit in Gabon, increasing its support for entrepreneurs and small and medium sized businesses that help grow the economy and create jobs in the country.
IFC’s SME Toolkit is a product that consists of software, business forms, articles and training designed to leverage information and communication technologies to provide critical information, tools, and training to SMEs in emerging markets.
IFC has established a partnership with the Banque Gabonaise de Développement to implement the SME Toolkit program. Under the partnership agreement, BGD will use IFC’s SME Toolkit services to improve its support to SME development, contributing to economic diversification, job creation and economic growth in Gabon.
Roger Owono Mba, General Manager of BGD, said: “BGD’s collaboration with IFC will help us access the SME Toolkit product, which will support the Gabonese private sector to better structure, expand businesses, and help grow the economy and jobs in the country.”
Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, said: “IFC’s partnership with BGD furthers our commitment to contribute to economic development in Gabon. The launch of SME Toolkit in Gabon demonstrates IFC’s strategy to supporting private sector growth in the country.”
The SME Toolkit Gabon is a join IFC/World Bank project. Fifteen SME Toolkit trainers from BGD staff have already been trained to deliver SME Toolkit training in Gabon. Over the next two years, BGD, with IFC’s help, will train an estimated 500 SMEs across the country, equipping them to access loans, grow their businesses and create new jobs. BGD expects to grow its SME portfolio from the current 19 percent to 50 percent of an estimated 3,000 SMEs in Gabon. Growth of SMEs will contribute positively to creating employment opportunities for the estimated 10,000 to 15,000 young people entering the Gabonese labor market each year.
The SME Toolkit partners include banks and corporations, NGOs, private companies, government agencies and training firms. The SME Toolkit has already helped thousands of entrepreneurs in emerging markets in Africa and around the world improve their skills and develop their businesses. The website receives over five million unique visitors a year.
IFC’s strategy in Gabon includes
supporting enhanced business regulations to improve the investment climate, and promoting the development of SMEs through partnerships with local intermediary institutions.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit