In 2017, Proparco signed its first trade finance facility with the pan-African banking group Ecobank, a USD 50 million-trade finance guarantee package in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire). The guarantee was aimed at boosting trade between African and European countries by enhancing the capacity of four of Ecobank’s African subsidiaries (in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea (Conakry) and Mali) to finance import / export operations with EBI S.A., Ecobank’s French-based subsidiary.
This Trade Finance Guarantee Programme is aimed at supporting Ecobank Liberia, a subsidiary of the Pan-African bank Ecobank, on international markets. In addition, it will encourage foreign banks to engage in trade finance operations with Ecobank Liberia and its local clients, thus promoting the development of international trade through import and export facilitation of essential goods. This project is part of the French initiative Choose Africa.
This 2-year facility granted by Proparco will also enable Ecobank Liberia to issue trade finance instruments for an amount up to USD 10M, with a guarantee by AFD Group of up to 100%.
Created in 1998, Ecobank Liberia Limited is a subsidiary of Ecobank Transnational (ETI) the parent company of the Ecobank Group.
France, via the French initiative Choose Africa implemented by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Group and managed by Proparco, and its financial partner Ecobank Liberia, is easing access to finance SMEs to support their growth
Speaking during the signing ceremony, H. Exc. Michaël Roux, The Ambassador of France to Liberia said “Subsequent to the French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech in Ouagadougou in November 2017, the Choose Africa initiative was launched in 2018. Choose Africa is France’s commitment to support the African start-ups, Micro, Small and Medium Size Enterprises (MSMEs). With Choose Africa, the AFD Group, including Proparco aims to accompany MSMEs and entrepreneurs at all stages of their development, via a wide range of financing and support solutions”
Also speaking, Ange Pascal Kouassi, Proparco’ s Country Representative for Ghana and Liberia stated “Through this facility, the goal is to finance basic needs and thus allow the import of essential goods for Liberia. This Trade Finance Guarantee to Ecobank Liberia will help achieve what France wants to promote with the Choose Africa initiative launched in 2018: support to SMEs all across Africa. This initiative has been recently enhanced to help MSMEs face the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic (Choose Africa Resilience)”
Representing Ecobank Liberia, the Head of Corporate and Investment Banking, Steve Howard said “As the leading commercial bank in Liberia, we are proud to sign this Trade Finance Guarantee agreement with Proparco, the private sector financing arm of AFD. We believe this agreement will go a long way in enabling us to fully support our local customers, while at the same time promoting the development of international trade via import of essential goods. This signing today is a continuation of the Trade Finance Project launched in 2017 with 4 francophone Ecobank affiliates. Ecobank Liberia is now the first anglophone affiliate to sign this agreement with Proparco, which demonstrates the confidence the institution has in the Pan -African Bank. With this agreement, MSMEs in Liberia can be assured of our commitment to support the growth of their businesses”