The credit line aims to stimulate private sector growth, develop female entrepreneurship and increase youth employment.
Atlantic Business International (ABI), the UEMOA holding company of the Moroccan group BCP (Banque Centrale Populaire), and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed an agreement in Abidjan on Thursday, September 14, for the financing of businesses in sub-Saharan Africa through the Banque Atlantique network, for a total of 65 million euros (or 42.5 billion CFA francs).
According to Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, this €65 million financing agreement will support businesses in Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Senegal through the Banque Atlantique network.
This operation, he said, provides “a financing facility” to launch a new dynamic in support of growth and employment.
it is seen as a deal that demonstrates the “great trust” between ABI and the EIB.
Abdeslam Bennani, Managing Director of BCP International, welcomed the signature of this credit line, which will be used throughout its banking network in Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Senegal to “accelerate the distribution of credit to SMEs.”
“We are making the SME segment our main focus in our various subsidiaries, both because SME financing allows us to increase value creation and promote greater employment in the markets,” he added.
Regarding the conditions of eligibility, Bennani pointed out that today this line is mainly open to companies with fewer than 250 employees, adding that part of this line will be reserved for companies run by women.
In addition, a portion will also be allocated to companies with a high level of youth employment in their workforce in order to encourage companies to promote the emergence of youth employment among their staff, he added.
With this agreement, the BCP Group and the EIB extend their cooperation to the SME market in the region. The initiative, supported by the European Union (EU), reinforces ABI and the EIB’s commitment to financial inclusion, empowerment and leadership for youth and women.
As part of this strategic partnership, the EIB loan to ABI is expected to mobilise up to €130 million (85.2 billion CFA francs) in financing for businesses in Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Burkina Faso, with priority given to SMEs.
At least 30% of the funds are expected to benefit women and the same amount to benefit young people, reinforcing the parties’ commitment to diversity and inclusion. In addition, this partnership will be complemented by technical assistance provided by the EIB to ABI and a risk-sharing mechanism allowing for an integrated service offering to SMEs.
This is one of the first operations under the 2023-2027 agreement between the EU and the EIB to finance the private sector in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. It will be implemented through a long-term partnership between the EIB and the BCP Group.
This partnership will contribute to the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the EU’s external action and the EU’s Multiannual Indicative Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa 2021-2027, supporting inclusive and job-creating economic growth on the continent, in line with the EU’s Multiannual Indicative Programmes in Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Senegal.
The European Investment Bank is the financing EU institution owned by its member states. It provides long-term finance for sound investments furthering EU policy objectives.
The EIB has been a strong partner of African countries for more than 55 years. EIB Global strengthens the Bank’s presence in Africa.
Over the past decade, the EIB has lent more than EUR 28 billion for investment in innovative technologies, green energy, water, education, agriculture, telecommunications, health and enterprise in 40 countries across the continent.