The International Finance Corporation has not announced any direct projects in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal since 2021

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(Agence Ecofin) – With respective growth of 6% and 6.5% expected in 2022, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal are slow to benefit directly from new IFC commitments, in a context where their private sectors need boost production and contain inflation.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the branch of the World Bank in charge of the private sector, has no longer announced investment projects for the exclusive benefit of Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, the two main economies of the UEMOA since 2021, when we are in a post Covid 19 recovery year.

According to data consulted by the Ecofin Agency, IFC’s last investment in Senegal dates back to 2020. The institution had approved and started the disbursement of a 5-year loan worth $10 million in local currency. (FCFA) for the benefit of UM-ACEP microfinance. The objective was to enable the beneficiary structure to extend its credit capacities in rural areas and for the benefit of very small, small and medium-sized enterprises.

In 2021, the institutional investor announced only two projects in Côte d’Ivoire, including one in June, for $19.5 million, for the benefit of Société Ivoirienne de Banque, in the form of a guarantee instrument partial for an overall loan portfolio of CFAF 20 billion. The other project announced is that concerning Bridge Bank, relating to a 6-month guarantee, to support the import guarantee letters.

Since then, the only announcement that could lead to investments in the two countries is the IFC’s plan to provide $20 million to Uhuru Growth Fund, a Luxembourg-based investment fund, which is co-led by three people including the Jean Michel Kamanan, formerly of PCM Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Mauritius with an office in Abidjan. While Côte d’Ivoire is designated as a priority investment target for this fund, the same is not true for Senegal. The two economic locomotives of WAEMU, however, display solid macroeconomic fundamentals, despite the slowdown observed during the Covid-19 period, particularly in Senegal. Average growth for both should be around 6.2% in 2022 according to the African Development Bank, including 6% for the Senegal and 6.5% for Ivory Coast.

Like other countries in this economic sub-region, the two countries need significant financing levers to support production, particularly in the agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors, and to contain a food inflation which reached 12%. At the same time, although banks’ balance sheet assets have strengthened between 2008 and 2020, the share of credit reserved for production in these sectors remains modest, due to a low level of access to credit. The active presence of a structure like the IFC generally encourages investors and lenders to better respond to these financing needs.

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