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IFC Invests in MicroCred Sénégal to Increase Loans to Senegalese Small Businesses

Dakar, Senegal, February 5, 2010 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced that it will invest in and provide advisory services to MicroCred Sénégal to help the microfinance institution increase lending to micro and small entrepreneurs, who currently have limited access to formal financial services and products.
IFC’s equity investment of 574.6 million West African francs ($1.2 million) will help the institution expand activities, initially in Dakar and at a later stage to other underserved urban areas of Senegal. SONAM, a Senegalese insurance company, and Bank of Africa will also invest 400 million West African francs ($850,000) and 100 million West African francs ($200,000) in the institution, respectively.
IFC’s advisory services will support MicroCred Sénégal through a grant to help them finance their expansion and improve capacity.
“Microfinance institutions play a key role in helping improve the financial infrastructure in developing countries,” said Ruben Dieudonné, CEO of MicroCred Sénégal. “Microcred’s partnership with IFC will help our growth strategy.” In 2010, MicroCred Sénégal will expand to Dakar’s downtown Plateau district, Senegal’s largest market for microfinance and one of the largest commercial markets in West Africa.
Microfinance in Senegal is mostly provided by credit cooperatives, and only about 2 percent of the population currently has access to microfinance products and services.  By investing in MicroCred Sénégal, IFC will support the development of the first commercial microfinance institution in Senegal.
In the next three years, IFC expects MicroCred Sénégal to create 400 direct jobs and serve at least 50 thousand microfinance clients, of which half will be women. Through increasing access to finance, IFC also expects the institution to stimulate the local economy and reduce poverty.
“IFC’s investment in MicroCred Sénégal is part of our global strategy to support micro, small and medium enterprises” said Rachel Robbins, IFC Vice President and General Counsel. “Well managed, commercially run microfinance institutions like MicroCred Sénégal are vital for creating a sound microfinance sector, boosting lending to entrepreneurs and attracting newcomers to increase competition”.
IFC’s microfinance strategy for Africa aims to increase access to finance in the poorest areas through commercially viable microfinance institutions. With this strategy, IFC plans to help establish three or four such institutions annually over the next five years.  
IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD , it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by helping increase access to financial services by supporting microfinance institutions.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit .
About MicroCred Holding and MicroCred Sénégal S.A.
MicroCred Holding is an investment company, based in Paris, France and sponsored by PlaNet Finance, that aims to create a network of commercial MFIs offering financial services to low-income entrepreneurs who do not have access to the traditional financial sector.  
MicroCred Sénégal S.A. was created in early 2007 and is headquartered in Dakar, Senegal. At the end of 2009, it had about 12 thousand clients and an outstanding portfolio of XOF 4.5 billion, approximately EUR 7 million.