Ghana is a key priority for Proparco and the AFD Group, representing the 2nd largest country for Proparco in the region. The country accounts for around 20% of the activity for the West Africa office and has a strong development potential that Proparco regional management and the local representation wish to reinforce. So far, Proparco has been active in the banking sector where Proparco provides financing support to banks whose priority is to finance SMEs.
CalBank, a market leader in Ghana’s banking sector, is considered to be one of the most innovative banks in Ghana. After 29 years in operation, CalBank has a solid track record of sterling financial performance delivering value to shareholders. CalBank’s objective to be Ghana’s leading digitized bank has seen the bank’s introduction of innovative electronic banking solutions to the Ghanaian market.
Proparco and CalBank have a long standing business relationship since Proparco granted its first senior loan to Calbank in 1998. This strategic partnership grew over the past 21 years through several senior loans, a subordinated loan and an equity investment in 2012 to support CalBank’s ambitious growth strategy.
Proparco and CalBank recognize the core role of the private sector in the economic development of Ghana, and as a priority, the financing of SMEs. The two entities intend to strengthen their cooperation in order to support the development of Ghanaian private companies and especially SMEs. Others areas of cooperation may include climate finance, gender finance and financial inclusion.
This MoU highlights a trusted partnership established 20 years ago thanks to a shared vision between the two institutions and illustrates Proparco's willingness to finance more SMEs in Ghana. This MoU is thus fully in line with the French government's Choose Africa initiative.
“Choose Africa”, the French initiative to boost African SMEs
Local corporates and start-ups play a key role in creating jobs and boosting economic growth and innovation in Africa. However, a lack of adequate and suitable financing remains a huge obstacle, hampering the business ambitions of entrepreneurs and hindering their development potential. At present, only 20% of African SMEs have access to a bank loan and 87% of start-ups do not have access to any funding. Choose Africa fulfils the ambition and the commitment of the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, made in November 2017 in Ouagadougou, to support the African entrepreneurial and innovation impetus. The French government is using this initiative to reaffirm its support for African business and support local economic development across the continent.
An initiative powered by AFD and Proparco
With the backing of AFD Group (Agence Française de Développement and its private sector financing-arm, Proparco), this initiative will harness all of the resources of the AFD Group to provide unprecedented support for African small business. All of the resources of AFD and Proparco will be mobilised in order to support African businesses at various stage of their development. €2.5 billion be committed to accelerate the growth of African business in Africa by the year 2022: €1 billion in equity investment will be mobilised for African start-ups and MSMEs and a further €1.5 billion will also be used to facilitate access to credit for MSMEs via a wide range of local public or private financial institutions (for example, microfinance institutions, banks, leasing companies, etc.).
A total of 10,000 African SMEs are intended to benefit from Choose Africa and 600 of these businesses will receive equity financing.