Lome, August 13, 2009
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today signaled its further commitment to increasing private sector investment and advisory services in Togo and Côte d’Ivoire with a visit by regional Vice President Thierry Tanoh and Director for West and Central Africa Yolande Duhem. In their second trip to these countries in less than a year, the IFC officials highlighted recent trade finance transactions and IFC’s growing regional relationship with Lome-based Ecobank.
“Africa’s development needs combined with its spirit of enterprise reinforce IFC’s strong commitment to the continent,” said Thierry Tanoh, IFC Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa. “IFC has expanded its role in Africa during the financial crisis and intends to continue to do so.”
During the fiscal year that ended in June 2009, IFC increased its investment in Sub-Saharan Africa to $1.8 billion reaching 30 countries, up from $1.4 billion in 25 countries the previous year. IFC Advisory Services in Africa also increased its volume by 35 percent to $38 million and doubled its work in conflict-affected countries.
For more than 15 years, Ecobank and IFC have been working together to offer improved services to clients in West Africa. The relationship is improving access to finance and building strong financial markets in order to strengthen the private sector on the continent.
“Reaching Africa’s smaller markets is a high priority for IFC,” said IFC Director for West and Central Africa, Yolande Duhem. “With partners like Ecobank who share our commitment to African development, we have been able to finance more businesses in markets like Togo and Côte d’Ivoire.”
Ecobank booked its first trade transaction in April 2009 under the IFC trade finance line of $2.1 million for Côte d’Ivoire. The next month Ecobank marked its first transaction under the IFC trade finance line for Togo of $5 million.
In 2008, IFC provided a financing package of up to $213 million to Ecobank, consisting of a $100 million convertible loan to support the bank’s regional expansion, a $25 million loan and advisory services to Ecobank Nigeria to promote lending to smaller businesses, and up to $88 million in guarantees against the underlying trade transactions of several Ecobank subsidiaries—including those in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo. The IFC Advisory Services component in conjunction with Ecobank is enabling banks to provide longer term financing and improve profitability to small business and women-led enterprises in the region.
In addition to meetings with state ministers and regional businesses leaders, Mr. Tanoh and Ms. Duhem were scheduled to meet with the President of the West African Development Bank, Abdoulaye Bio Tchane.
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 $15 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit