Lagos, Nigeria, October 13, 2011
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today committed a loan to Vitafoam Sierra Leone to support manufacturing and encourage cross-border African investment. It is the first time IFC has provided financing to a manufacturing project since Sierra Leone’s civil war ended a decade ago, signaling a new phase in IFC’s support for the West African country’s economic revival. It demonstrates the importance of investment between African countries and highlights to all investors that Sierra Leone is open for business.
IFC will provide a $2.8 million loan to help the Nigerian domestic market leader expand in Sierra Leone. Vitafoam Sierra Leone is a recently created subsidiary of the Nigerian Stock Exchange-listed Vitafoam Nigeria, a leading manufacturer of foam related products, such as mattresses.
Bamidele O. Makanjuola, Managing Director of Vitafoam Nigeria Plc., said, “Sierra Leone is a promising market that holds new opportunities for Vitafoam. Our partnership with IFC gives us confidence to expand in this new market and take advantage of the opportunities provided by peace and an improving business climate.”
The entry of the Vitafoam group into Sierra Leone is expected to create at least 65 jobs in an economy where youth unemployment is a major issue. It will also create indirect employment through wholesale and retail outlets. It will generate tax revenue and contribute to a manufacturing base important for reducing imports.
At the signing of the transaction in Lagos, Thierry Tanoh, IFC Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Western Europe, said, “IFC wants to encourage Nigerian companies to invest beyond their home market. Sierra Leone is a promising economy emerging from a long conflict, so this project creates opportunities where they are needed most in Africa.”
Mary Agboli, IFC Resident Representative for Sierra Leone, said, “IFC is committed to being a partner with businesses and the government in Sierra Leone to create an environment that will allow private sector businesses to create jobs.” IFC’s strategy in Sierra Leone focuses on supporting the country’s economic recovery by strengthening the domestic financial sector, supporting private participation in infrastructure development, and financing select private sector projects.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit