While SMEs make a significant contribution to job creation, sustainable economic growth and improved access to goods and services such as healthcare, education and renewable energies, they suffer from a financing deficit that hampers their development. In the DRC, only 6% of the population is banked. In this context, Equity Banque Commerciale du Congo (Equity BCDC) and Proparco both focus on financial inclusion of underserved populations and SMEs as a core pillar of their respective strategies.
Equity BCDC was created in 2020 through the acquisition of BCDC by the Congolese subsidiary of Equity Group Holding (EGH), one of Africa's leading banking groups originally from Kenya. Present in 6 East African countries, the group aims to extend its presence to 15 countries by 2025.
In the DRC, Equity BCDC stands out for its ongoing support for SMEs, women entrepreneurs and rural populations with tailored financing solutions.
Equity Bank is also known for its high-impact development programs run by the Equity Group Foundation in the fields of education, health, energy, agri-food, health, financial inclusion and social protection.
Proparco is the private sector arm of Agence Française de Développement (AFD Group). Proparco has been active for over 40 years in promoting sustainable economic, social and environmental development. Since 2021 Proparco has established a priority program in the Democratic Republic of Congo to finance and support corporates and SMEs in the agri-food, renewable energy, financial inclusion and healthcare sectors in particular.
Against this backdrop, Proparco joined forces for the first time with Equity BCDC in March 2022 in the DRC via a Choose Africa Resilience portfolio guarantee, aimed at supporting SMEs affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
The signing of a new partnership between Equity BCDC and Proparco in May 2023 for the DRC reflects the desire of both entities to strengthen their presence and impact in the country.
The EURIZ guarantee granted to Equity BCDC in the amount of 10M EUR (denominated in USD) benefits from the financial support of the European Union and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACP).
Thanks to this EURIZ guarantee, Equity BCDC will continue to increase its financing in favor of high-impact SMEs, particularly those owned by women and young adults, in line with Proparco's new 2023-2027 strategy "Acting together for greater impact", which aims to reduce gender inequalities and promote financial inclusion.
The project will contribute to several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 3 "Good health and well-being", SDG 4 "Quality education", SDG 5 "Gender equality", SDG 7 "Clean and affordable energy", SDG 8 "Decent work and economic growth" and SDG 13 "Combating climate change".
Further partnerships will be announced in the coming months.