Développer l’accès aux services financiers : les projets soutenus par la SFI

La Société financière internationale (SFI – en anglais IFC), filiale de la Banque Mondiale dédiée au renforcement du secteur privé dans les pays en développement, a récemment accru son action en Afrique. Elle consacre aujourd’hui 4 milliards de dollars par an au continent, en soutenant notamment la constitution d’infrastructures financières capables de répondre aux besoins croissants de ces pays.


  • Ian Weetman, IFC
    • Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa
      IFC Financial Markets

Revue de l'article

Cet article est extrait de
Banque & Stratégie n°314

L’Afrique subsaharienne : nouvel eldorado pour les services financiers ?

Africa is a strategic priority for IFC, the largest global development institution focused on the private sector. We see so much potential. Africa is home to both some of the greatest challenges and the greatest opportunities for all involved in the process of working to end poverty and build shared prosperity.

IFC has substantially increased its commitment to Africa over the last few years, opening many new offices, hiring new, mainly local staff, and moving more decision-making to these local markets so we can better serve our clients. This has enabled us to increase our annual commitments from $ 700 million in 11 African countries six years ago to $ 4 billion in 36 countries by 2012, supported by $ 189 million in advisory projects provided in collaboration with our donor partners.

IFC’s Africa strategy is built on three pillars:

  • Supporting investment climate reforms;
  • Encouraging large investment projects;
  • Developing micro, small,and medium enterprises(MSMEs).

In addition, IFC seeks to promote access to finance for women, energy efficiency, insurance, affordable housing, health, and education through direct investment or via financial intermediaries. IFC Advisory Services plays an important role in developing programs that improve access to finance, or increase the development impact of IFC investments. IFC’s Financial Markets department now has a network of 176 clients, accounting for 242 projects and portfolio of $ 2.3 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Access to Finance: Lifeblood for Entrepreneurs

In the area of financial services in particular, there is much work to be done. We estimate that less than a quarter of adults in Sub Saharan Africa have access to formal or semi-formal financial services.

Being able to get finance and credit is lifeblood for entrepreneurs and small businesses. It is precisely these small businesses, which account for half of all job created globally, and 90 % of jobs in emerging markets, that IFC wants to help.  Still, in many countries in Africa, smaller businesses are excluded from the financial services.  When it comes to MSMEs we calculate that about 26 million MSMEs in Sub Saharan Africa don’t have access to loans from financial institutions and need them.

One way we help is the African MSME Finance Program, an initiative to help banks across Sub-Saharan Africa to sustainably and profitably increase business with micro, small and medium sized enterprises. It has now expanded to include providing access to finance for women entrepreneurs. The IFC AMSME Finance Program has worked in 16 countries across the Africa continent with 21 banks in its portfolio. Over $ 140 million investment has been committed with over $ 1 billion in overall outstanding loans to the SME clients of our partner financial intermediaries.

Reaching Female Entrepreneurs

IFC’s Banking on Women program plays a catalytic role in bringing together financial institutions and various partners to serve women-owned businesses profitably and sustainably. It focuses on regions and countries that have strong enabling environments for SMEs and large numbers of women entrepreneurs in the supply and distribution chains of local, regional and global corporations.

For example, IFC and the Coca-Cola Company recently announced a $ 100 million, three-year joint initiative to provide much-needed access to finance for thousands of women entrepreneurs in Africa and other emerging markets. IFC will work through its network of local and regional banking institutions to provide financing and business skills training to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are owned or operated by women entrepreneurs across the Coca-Cola value chain, starting with an IFC investment in Access Bank (Nigeria). Initially, the partnership will mainly benefit women-owned SMEs in Coca-Cola’s value chain in Nigeria.  These SMEs will gain increased access to finance through IFC’s investment in a $ 22 million risk-sharing facility with Access Bank of Nigeria, in close collaboration with Coca-Cola’s partner, the Nigerian Bottling Company PLC.

IFC also announced an additional $ 50 million loan to Access Bank Nigeria to help it expand lending to SMEs, a quarter of which will be women-owned. These investments mark the first “blended” funds to be distributed by IFC under its Global SME Finance Facility, supported by donor funding from the United Kingdom. The facility aims to reduce the risks and costs of lending to SMEs by sharing risks with banks, improving their ability to identify and underwrite SMEs, and strengthening critical financial infrastructure.

The Critical Role of Credit Bureaus

Information is the lifeline of modern economies. Still, in many countries in Africa, information about a business’ or individual’s credit record is unavailable. The result: entrepreneurs and small businesses have a harder time borrowing money – and interest rates are often high to offset the high risk. Credit bureaus offer a solution to this problem, helping consumers and small businesses obtain finance on the basis of reputation. They provide lenders with credit information on the borrowers, which removes much of the uncertainty associated with lending. For borrowers, detailed credit information leads to lower interest rates, making loans more affordable. Credit bureaus also support responsible lending practices, and help borrowers avoid over-indebtedness.

IFC’s Credit Bureau program aims to make access to finance easier for individuals and small businesses by building credit information sharing and reporting systems in Africa.  To do this, we work closely with central banks. For example, in Ghana we work with the Bank of Ghana, public and private banks, other lenders and credit providers, and consumers. At the moment, there are three privately operated credit bureaus in Ghana - XDS Data, Hudson Price and Dun & Bradstreet.

Promoting Food Security through Commodity Exchanges

Recurring famines in the Horn of Africa are reminders of the tragedies that can befall the continent. Boosting food security and improving the lives of farmers is critical for IFC. That’s why, earlier this year IFC committed to investing up to $ 2.5 million in Eleni LLC, to support the formation and rollout of commodity exchanges in Africa. By improving the functioning of commodity markets, this project will enhance productivity and risk management. It will also make finance more accessible for farmers, helping them to increase their share of the final price and get paid more quickly.

It builds on the success of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, founded by Dr Eleni Gabre-Madhin, who has now launched this new company.  The project is expected to promote food security and help farmers get a better deal for their product. In a sign which demonstrates the attractiveness of Africa to international banks, Morgan Stanley will also be investing up to $ 2.5 million in Eleni LLC.  The Company’s business model is based on delivering turnkey projects on a Public-Private Partnership (“PPP”) basis, combining private investment with the best of know-how, technology and management to support exchange projects. Eleni aims to be an industry leader in designing, building, and supporting the operations of commodity exchange eco-systems in frontier markets and intends to launched several such projects in 2013.

Preventing Poverty through Micro-insurance

When tragedy strikes, those in low- and middle-income groups often lose their earning power and face immediate hardship, plunging back into poverty. The risk of setback is severe, and the retail finance sector has a role to play. IFC recently made a $ 2.2 million combined debt and equity investment in MicroEnsure . An outside-the-box insurance broker, MicroEnsure targets the base-of-the-pyramid market globally, providing micro insurance that is built into microfinance loans as well as mobile phone airtime payments.  It has enabled it to help people like Constance Adae, whose small shop burned to the ground in Accra in 2010. Seeing her business wiped out overnight, she feared the worst.  But, insurance was built into her shop’s microfinance loan. MicroEnsure’s innovative business model enabled Ghana’s Vanguard Assurance to send Constance a rapid settlement.

For additional impact, IFC is also helping 70,000 small-scale farmers in Kenya and Rwanda - and another 7,000 in Sri Lanka – insure their crops against risks of severe weather events such as floods and draughts. Together with the World Bank Group, we have established the Global Index Insurance Facility to help the private sector develop innovative products of this kind, working in partnership with the European Commission, the Netherlands, and Japan.

Opportunities and Threats of Demographic Boom

The urgency of IFC’s work in Africa is clear. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to the fastest growing populations in the world. By 2050 it will be home to an increasingly urbanized population of 2 billion, roughly a doubling of today’s population. The challenge is whether Africa can further realize the promise of a dynamic, youthful population, or whether the overwhelming burden of rapid population growth and associated development challenges will cause growth to seize and overwhelm fragile governments.

African economies have long provided too few opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors, yet today there is a greater sense of optimism and recognition of Africa’s potential than ever before.  IFC shares this optimism. IFC has sought to seize on this emerging trend to demonstrate the opportunities that can be found in Africa and the enormous developmental impact of sustainable investment in the private sector. We hope that more financial institutions and investors will follow. There are opportunities both for international banks and investors as well as for African financial institutions themselves to grow into strong regional players.


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L’Afrique subsaharienne, nouvel eldorado pour les services financiers ?

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