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IFC Encourages Rwanda's Entrepreneurs, Smaller Companies with Investment in Business Partners Fund

Kigali, Rwanda, June 2, 2011-- IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $1.6 million in equity in Business Partners Rwanda SME Fund (BPI Rwanda). The fund aims to provide financing and management support for up to 70 SMEs, increasing employment and local entrepreneurship in Rwanda.
IFC’s investment comprises about 20% of the fund’s total committed capital of $7.2 million. The target size for the fund is $8.0 million. Other key investors include the Rwanda Enterprise Investment Company and DOEN, a Dutch NGO. The Business Partners private equity fund responds to a growing need for risk capital and quality management advice in Rwanda.
Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Director for East and Southern Africa, said “Business Partners’ Rwanda chapter provides a much-needed option for socially responsible financing. By supporting small and medium enterprises, the fund will help Rwandan entrepreneurs build businesses and create jobs across the country.  IFC and Business Partners share a commitment to responsible business models, which should increase focus on social and environmental performance standards in Rwanda.”
Business Partners International is a South Africa based financier of SMEs, established in 2004 as a joint venture between IFC and Business Partners. The BPI Rwanda fund will be managed by a local team, under the oversight of Business Partners International. The fund will tap into the expertise of locally based managers and combine financing with business advisory services.
Nazeem Martin, BPI CEO, said “The partnership with IFC will enable BPI to provide comprehensive technical services to Rwandan SMEs. This includes the installation of management information systems, market research and product development; quality assurance; process efficiency improvements; and staff training and skill development. With this wide range of services, BPI aims to improve corporate governance with an eye towards social and environmental returns.”
BPI Rwanda is IFC’s fourth investment in a local investment fund managed by Business Partners International. To date, IFC has invested $5.0 million in BPI Kenya, $3.7 million in BPI Madagascar and $2 million in BPI Mozambique.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit .
About Business Partners
Business Partners Limited is a specialist risk finance company for formal small and medium enterprises in South Africa, and selected African countries. The company actively supports entrepreneurial growth by providing financing, specialist sectoral knowledge and added-value services for viable small and medium businesses.
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