Washington — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced that it will provide a $ 15 million loan to Rawbank to support lending to small and medium businesses and women entrepreneurs in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The investment was arranged through Global SME Finance Facility will help Rawbank offer a wider range of services to Congolese entrepreneurs. The Global SME Finance Facility supports high-impact projects with higher risk profiles, such as in conflict-affected areas, women-owned businesses, and those engaged in sustainable-energy and climate-change activities.
The facility was established in 2012 following a call from the G-20 members to close the trillion dollar finance gap faced by SMEs in developing countries. TheUK government's Department for International Development is its anchor donor.
Thierry Taeymans, CEO of Rawbnk said, "Today we are expanding our strategic partnership with IFC. In addition to financing, IFC brings global and technical experience that will strengthen our leading position in DRC's financial system, and enable us to reach more small and medium enterprises, that are the backbone of the emerging economy in DRC. IFC's partnership is a recognition of the quality of management and services provided by our bank."
Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for East and Southern Africa said "IFC has found that small and medium enterprises can be a main catalyst for an economy of a fragile country, making it stronger and more resilient. As the DRC recovers from decades of conflict, increasing access to finance for entrepreneurs is critical to rebuild the private sector".
World Bank studies show that the DRC has less than a million formal bank accounts for a population of 70 million, which translates into banking penetration rate of less than two percent.
Starting operations as a small, family-owned bank in 2002, Rawbank has since expanded to become the largest bank in DRC in terms of total assets and deposits. The bank has 36 branches across the country offering corporate, retail, and private banking services
Rawbank will use IFC's financing in part to expand its reach to women. Women in the DRC have more difficulty gaining access to finance than men. With the support of IFC Advisory Services, Rawbank recently introduced a 'Lady's First' banking project, offering specialized services to women.
The project has already loaned over $3 million to Congolese women. With the new loan agreement, IFC will continue to offer advisory services to Rawbank on targeting women customers and risk management.
IFC's strategy in the DRC involves working closely with the private sector to support entrepreneurs, promote environmental and social best practices and build financial markets.
SOURCE International Finance Corporation (IFC)