Kingston, June 28 2021.- The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with Sagicor Bank Jamaica to support Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This will be achieved through the Working Capital Solutions program, which is part of the IFC's global response to support the recovery of the private sector from the pandemic. IFC is providing Sagicor Bank funding of up to US$40 million to expand financing for SMEs in Jamaica and help enhance their resilience, continue operations, and protect jobs. The investment complements a previous advisory project to help Sagicor Bank grow its SME business and support Jamaica in strengthening its credit framework through a regional Secured Transactions Collateral Registry.
"At Sagicor Bank we recognize that the SME sector plays an important role in our economy and generates thousands of jobs for Jamaicans. This partnership with IFC will better enable us to support the recovery and growth of such businesses after what has been a challenging year for most," said Chorvelle Johnson Cunningham, Sagicor Bank CEO.
Before the pandemic, Jamaica's financing gap was estimated at US$2.7 billion, with only 27 percent of SMEs with a loan or line of credit. A World Bank Financial Sector Assessment also concluded that, even prior to the crisis, many Jamaican SMEs were using personal funds for investments, which resulted in a delay in business development and growth. The pandemic has also disrupted important segments of the economy such as tourism and manufacturing.
"IFC is very happy to be working with Sagicor Bank to increase lending to small and medium-size companies. The SME sector is extremely important to the Jamaican economy and our partnership with Sagicor Bank will not only provide much needed support to the sector but also to the country's recovery.," said Judith Green, IFC Manager for the Caribbean.
IFC's strategy in Jamaica is focused on supporting economic growth, inclusion and sustainability which includes improving the investment climate, supporting public-private partnerships to help address critical infrastructure needs, and expanding access to finance to SMEs and women by working with financial institutions.
About IFCIFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In the fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org. About Sagicor Group JamaicaSagicor Group Jamaica is a financial services conglomerate. The Company commenced operations in 1970 as Life of Jamaica Limited, the first locally owned life insurance company and the first life insurance company to be listed on the JSE. The Group offers products and services in the areas of Banking, Insurance, Investments, Real Estate, Asset Management and Retirement Planning. Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited is the leading Life and Health insurance provider in Jamaica; the Bank is one of Jamaica's largest banks, and Sagicor Investments is one of the top Investments companies in the Country. Sagicor Group Jamaica is a member of the wider Sagicor Financial Corporation. Sagicor Financial Corporation operates in over 20 countries and its operations date back to 1840.