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IFC and Ecobank Cameroon to Increase Lending, Trade Transactions for Smaller Businesses

Yaounde, Cameroon, November 10, 2009 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced today that it will partner with Ecobank Cameroon to increase lending to small and medium sized businesses in Cameroon and help increase their share of global trade.
IFC will provide $8 million in guarantees against Ecobank Cameroon’s underlying trade transactions, enabling the bank to better cover the payment risk of its clients, many of which are smaller businesses.
 IFC will also provide advisory services to help the bank increase lending to small and medium enterprises by developing new loan products, streamlining procedures, and offering advanced training to increase the skills of its staff.
 “Our collaboration with IFC will enable Ecobank Cameroon to better support small and medium enterprises, which comprise a significant portion of Cameroon’s economy and often face difficulty accessing credit,” said Babahady Marega, Ecobank Cameroon’s Managing Director. “Ecobank Cameroon constantly strives to offer an innovative range of products and services for our clients.”
The collaboration is the latest in a series between IFC and the Ecobank Group, which have enjoyed a longstanding relationship in facilitating commerce and economic development across Africa. IFC has invested in a number of the group’s subsidiaries, as well as investing in the group’s holding company in 1999 and 2008. IFC has also supported improvements in the group’s governance structure and social and environmental standards.
“The partnership with Ecobank Cameroon reflects IFC’s strategy to improve trade with and between countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and to support smaller businesses in Cameroon,” said Yolande Duhem, IFC Director for Western and Central Africa. “IFC is committed to creating a sustainable financial architecture that can provide financial services to people and businesses that need them the most."
IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. It is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries, including support to smaller businesses.
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 .