With 9.4% of market share, Atlantic Business International (ABI) Group, a holding company based in Abidjan, in which BCP holds a 68.46% stake, is one of the three leading financial groups in the WAEMU area. The Group is continuing its geographical expansion, with a presence in 6 West African countries and 14 subsidiaries active in the banking, merchant banking and insurance sectors. ABI’s development is central to the strategy of BCP Group, which in 2017 in its “Elan 2020” plan underscored its pan-African ambition through a strengthening of its base in several strategic countries. ABI, a key player in West Africa, is based on the universal and multi-business model developed by BCP in Morocco, which it adapts and tailors to the specific characteristics of each market.
It is the first Social Bond issue in West Africa by Atlantic Business International (ABI) and amounts to a total of EUR 125m. It is the first private foreign currency issue on the BRVM market and the first operation of this kind for PROPARCO.
PROPARCO’s participation, alongside IFC, aims to promote the development of the product on the market by enabling the required regulatory and technical changes. The objective is to rouse the interest of local investors in this instrument and create a knock-on effect.
This operation is in line with PROPARCO’s strategy: it is creating an innovative product (first foreign currency Social Bond issue in the WAMU zone) issued by a player committed to financing social projects, ABI and more generally BCP Group. It could also eventually boost the region’s capital market.
In addition, this operation is fully in line with the principle of subsidiarity, as local investors would not have subscribed the total amount issued given the innovative nature of the issue and its currency (euros). The involvement of PROPARCO and IFC is strengthening investor confidence and aims to create a knock-on effect.
Finally, this financing is strengthening the partnership established with BCP in 2011, as AFD Group is currently the bank’s only bilateral donor.
On the economic level, the project will support financial inclusion and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in the targeted sectors (health, education and microfinance). It will contribute to building the capacities of entrepreneurs, as a training program for ABI’s SME clients is currently being set up and will cover good practices for risk management and corporate governance.
On the social level, the project should improve access to essential services for people. The project will support some 3,000 direct jobs over the next 5 years, i.e. some 700 additional jobs. Women account for some 45% of employees and hold 41 management positions (out of 185 positions). ABI provides its employees with training: at the end of June 2018, 70% of employees had benefited from training.
Finally, the project should have positive impacts on reducing gender inequalities, as in the context of social obligations, 30% of the financing will be allocated to projects which support female entrepreneurship and leadership.