Share this page

IFC Helps BCN Expand Access to Finance for Women Entrepreneurs, SMEs in Cape Verde

Praia, Cape Verde, May 23, 2018 - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a package of financing and advice to Cape Verde’s Banco Caboverdiano de Negócios to help the bank expand, especially in support of smaller businesses and women entrepreneurs. It is IFC’s first transaction in Cape Verde in more than a decade as IFC targets new projects that support Africa’s smaller and lower income economies.
The 5-year senior loan of 5 million loan is part of the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, the first-of-its-kind global facility dedicated to expanding access to capital for 100,000 women entrepreneurs. It was launched in 2014 by IFC through its Banking on Women program, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, to help close the credit gap for women-owned businesses around the world. WEOF recently reached $1 billion in committed capital, 40% above the original goal.
Luís Vasconcelos, BCN Chairman, said “As the only wholly-local bank in Cape Verde, BCN intends to reposition itself to offer the best solution for clients at home and with the diaspora. IFC’s investment will allow us to scale-up credit to small and medium companies, and launch targeted funding for women entrepreneurs on favourable terms.”    
The 5 million loan will be complemented by a trade facility of up to $2 million under IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program to help BCN expand its trade finance operations. It targets to help BCN extend finance to 3000 additional SMEs over a 5-year period, of which 600 will be women-owned. BCN’s total SME are expected to increase from approximately $30 million to $68.4 million during this period.
Faheen Allibhoy, IFC Country Manager for Cape Verde, said “Our engagement will spur the SME sector in an economy largely driven by tourism and remittance income and help local businesses create jobs. Improving access to finance for smaller businesses and women entrepreneurs helps strengthen the economy and make it more inclusive.”
Though they represent 95 percent of the private sector players in Cape Verde, SMEs are largely unserved by local banks. BCN started its operations in Cape Verde in 2005 and is now the country’s fourth largest bank, in terms of assets and loans. It operates 17 branches in all nine habitable islands in Cape Verde.
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 Cape Verde’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.”
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
Stay Connected
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.
About BCN:
Banco Caboverdiano de Negócios is the fourth largest bank in the Republic of Cape Verde and the only one with 100 percent Cape Verdean shareholders. It serves private and corporate customers, in all nine inhabited islands of the archipelago. In 2017 the bank reviewed its strategy and intends to focus its activity on microentrepreneurs and small and medium enterprise customers: microenterprises and family-owned businesses, small and medium-sized local companies and women-led businesses, both formal and informal. For more information please visit