BrandArena: IFC and Ecobank Partner to Boost Trade Finance in Seven African Countries

Monday 20 May 2024

IFC and Ecobank Partner to Boost Trade Finance in Seven African Countries

In a strategic move to enhance trade and stimulate economic growth across Africa, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has announced the establishment of trade finance facilities with seven subsidiaries of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, and Togo.

This initiative involves a $140 million trade finance guarantee facility from IFC, aimed at bolstering the trade finance capabilities of the participating Ecobank affiliates. By leveraging ETI’s extensive presence across Africa, this facility will support the development of new trade partnerships for businesses in these countries. The enhancement of trade lines is expected to reduce Africa's dependence on imports, fostering economic development within the continent.

The trade finance facility is a component of IFC's broader $1 billion African Trade and Supply Chain Finance Program (ATRI), which seeks to promote regional trade development in Africa. The announcement was made at the Africa CEO Forum, a prestigious gathering of business leaders, policymakers, and investors focused on exploring economic and social opportunities across the continent.

“Our partnership with IFC is a testament to our strong relationship with an important and longstanding partner. Establishing the Global Trade Finance Program supports Ecobank’s goal to boost trade within Africa and help small and medium-sized businesses engage confidently in cross-border trade,” said Alain Nkontchou, Chairman Ecobank Transnational Incorporated. “By removing financial barriers, we will leverage Ecobank’s borderless payment platform and solutions to help businesses take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area single market.”

“IFC’s renewed partnership with Ecobank Group will facilitate access to finance for businesses in Africa, support economic growth, and boost job creation,” said Sérgio Pimenta, IFC’s Vice President for Africa. “Partnering with the Ecobank Group will enable IFC to support small businesses, many operating in environments where securing trade finance can be challenging.”

Under this partnership, IFC will also provide advisory services to Ecobank and its subsidiaries, with a focus on helping the banks boost their support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and increase access to finance for businesses owned or run by women.

IFC's Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP) extends and complements the capacity of banks to deliver trade financing by providing risk mitigation in new or challenging markets where trade lines may be constrained. Under the program, IFC has issued guarantees worth more than $100 billion globally to date. In financial year 2023 alone, IFC issued $9.1 billion, of which $3.5 billion was in Africa.

IFC and Ecobank have a longstanding partnership supporting trade, business growth, and entrepreneurship dating back to 1993.

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