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IFC Supports Leasing Finance to Strengthen SMEs in Sierra Leone

Lagos, Nigeria June 29, 2011 - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with the Bank of Sierra Leone and the Equipment Leasing Association of Nigeria to expand the use of leasing in Sierra Leone so smaller businesses in the country can more easily acquire the equipment or vehicles they need to grow.
The three organizations recently hosted an investment forum in Lagos that showcased leasing as an alternative financing mechanism ideally suited to smaller businesses that cannot afford to purchase expensive pieces of equipment. Nigeria hosted the event because it boasts a strong leasing industry that is able to attract investors from across Africa and other regions.
Public and private sector organizations, including domestic and foreign banks operating in Sierra Leone, the country’s National Revenue Authority, and its Investment and Export Promotion Agency, all attended the Lagos forum. Sierra Leone’s first independent leasing company, Consumer Finance and Leasing, also participated in the forum.
Riadh Naouar, Program Manager for the IFC Africa Leasing Facility, said, “IFC is actively engaged in Sierra Leone, supporting private sector growth in the country to help it recover from years of conflict. Expanding the use of leasing with a solid investment model, strategic partners, and local sponsors is an excellent way to support the growth of smaller businesses in Sierra Leone, which already offers a favorable legal and regulatory environment for leasing.”
Investors represented by ELAN came from East and West Africa, as well as Europe, Asia and North America to participate in the forum, where they were given detailed information about how to launch leasing investments in Sierra Leone.  
Kehinde Lawanson, Chairman of the Equipment Leasing Association of Nigeria, said, “ELAN is very optimistic about the enthusiasm of Sierra Leone’s government to create the right ingredients and foundations for leasing. As investors, we will definitely consider Sierra Leone a leading investment destination.”
IFC’s Leasing Facility Program in Sierra Leone is training private enterprises, business associations, financial institutions and regulatory agencies on the use of leasing. The program also offers consulting services to the leasing industry.  
Leasing is a core component of IFC’s strategy for helping develop financial markets, especially in countries recovering from conflict. Over the past 30 years, IFC has financed 126 leasing projects in 58 countries globally.  
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 .
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