Proparco's response to the Covid-19 crisis

Since the beginning of the crisis in 2020 and wherever it intervenes, Proparco has been mobilized alongside its clients affected by the Covid-19 pandemic via a global response plan in all its areas of operation.
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Proparco has set up a rapid, comprehensive and targeted response to the economic and health crisis related to the Covid-19 pandemic

  • As early as March 2020, Proparco provided an immediate response to address the most urgent needs of its clients, including deferred repayments in almost 20 countries
  • As early as March 2020, Proparco has been actively participating in the "Covid 19 - Health in Common" €1.2 billion initiative implemented by AFD Group. This French initiative has provided a targeted and partnership-based response to the crisis in developing countries, which have been hard hit by the health and economic consequences of the pandemic.
  • To support the long term economic recovery: an increased financial commitment and the implementation of new and targeted tools. In particular, Proparco added to the €2.5 billion Choose Africa initiative an additional €1 billion "Resilience" component. This mechanism comprises loan, guarantee, equity investment and technical assistance tools tailored to the crisis situation.
  • In response to the crisis, back in 2020, the European Union also refocused the guarantees of the External Investment Plan (EFSD) to support small businesses affected by the crisis and encourage local banks to finance them more. PROPARCO obtained a €68 million “EFSD Response” guarantee from new financing dedicated to SMEs in Africa, and a €3.7 million technical assistance grant to help financial institutions and their SME clients manage the impacts of the crises and restart their activity.

An immediate response

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At the outset of the pandemic, Proparco provided an immediate response to the needs of its clients affected by the crisis

In March 2020, Proparco launched a survey to identify the difficulties and most urgent needs expressed by its clients. The article published in Jeune Afrique Business on 30 March. In response to the needs expressed in this survey, Proparco continued to support its clients and immediately deployed emergency measures to support the most affected private players:

  • Additional equity investments in certain client companies
  • Authorizations to allow the reallocation of funds according to their priority  needs related to the pandemic
  • Deferred repayments to ease their cash flow. In almost 20 countries (Uganda, Niger, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire…), Proparco postponed deadlines for its most affected clients (especially in the tourism and transport sectors), with a risk exposure of more than €225 million. For instance:
    • In Egypt: Proparco postponed two deadlines for an NBFI (Non-banking Financial Institution) client: the April 2020 deadline moved to October and the October one moved to April 2021 – i.e. an extension of the initial schedule by 6 months. This extension of the deadline allowed the client to weather the first wave of the crisis and grant moratoriums to its clients affected by the impact of the pandemic.
    • In South Africa, for another NBFI client in the transport sector, Proparco postponed the June 2020 deadline to the end of the amortization schedule with a 6-month extension, i.e. to December 2024. Moratoriums have also been granted to the clients of this NBFI, which asked its lenders to support them during this period.

"Covid 19 - Health in common" initiative

Initiative santé en commun

Since March 2020, Proparco has been actively participating in AFD Group’s "Covid 19 - Health in Common" initiative: a €1.2 billion initiative in response to the global health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Proparco rapidly provided targeted assistance to health stakeholders in Africa – networks of hospitals and clinics, producers of essential drugs or protection equipment – to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

1Grants were allocated to Proparco's clients in the health sector. The purpose was to ensure the protection of front-line employees and to strengthen the capacity to supply equipment and consumables to care for Covid-19 patients. For example, Proparco has allocated grants to two major healthcare companies in Morocco: the Oncology and Diagnostics Group of Morocco (ODM) and Amanys Pharma (formerly Saham Pharma).



Subsidies were also allocated to ensure good working conditions for employees and to guarantee access to essential products. For example, the Bigot Flowers Kenya horticultural farm has received emergency support from Proparco to mitigate the social and health impacts.

 Video report :


3Targeted support: for example, Proparco enabled companies or funds benefiting from technical assistance to change the purpose of this assistance in order to meet urgent needs related to the protection of employees and communities.

Support the long term economic recovery

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To support the long term economic recovery: an increased financial commitment and the implementation of new and targeted tools

In addition to emergency measures, Proparco has also deployed a financial response to support affected private companies in the longer run:


Dedicated credit lines in Africa, Proparco granted in 2020 nearly €450 million to local financial institutions to mainly encourage them to maintain and strengthen their support to SMEs. For example:



  • In May 2020, Proparco and Cofina signed a EUR 10m loan agreement that will facilitate access to credit for Ivorian and Senegalese microenterprises and SMEs and help them play their key role in the economy in these difficult times. 
  • In October 2020, Proparco granted a US$100 million loan to Equity Bank to support Kenyan SMEs, with a particular focus on job-creating MSMEs, under the French Choose Africa initiative, as well as projects with climate co-benefits.

Watch the interview with the CEO of Equity Bank Holding, Dr. James Mwangi

This operation illustrates Proparco’s firm commitment to the Kenyan private sector amid the current Covid-19 crisis and economic turmoil. 

2“Choose Africa Resilience”: an additional €1 billion to support affected SMEs in Africa

AFD Group stepped up Choose Africa, the French initiative to support MSMEs in Africa. The new component of the Choose Africa initiative, Resilience, is implemented by Proparco and includes a set of tailor-made solutions to address the needs of African MSMEs that have been severely hit by the health and economic crises related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Choose Africa initiative was initially set at EUR 2.5bn for 2018-2022 and now stands at EUR 3.5bn.

The Choose Africa “Resilience” mechanism is a major financial commitment by AFD Group and is part of the by development banks, particularly in Europe, to help African MSMEs.  

Read the in-depth interview with PROPARCO’s CEO in Jeune Afrique: PROPARCO deploys an additional €1 billion for the Choose Africa initiative


"Bridge by Digital Africa" fund: a new €5 million financial instrument dedicated to start-ups to help mitigate the economic crisis.

Promoted by Digital Africa and deployed by Proparco, the Bridge Fund by Digital Africa intends to provide specific responses to the challenges young innovative African companies face due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It offers a bridging loan, over a maximum period of 24 months, to companies whose fundraising process has been cancelled or delayed due to the global economic crisis and the contraction of the investment market. The budget of the fund amounts to €5 million.

- Read the press release

- Video presentation:


Beyond the African continent, Proparco is supporting the private sector wherever it intervenes, especially in the most fragile countries.

Choose Africa Resilience is a key component to mitigate the impacts of the economic crisis in Africa, but Proparco’s response is obviously not limited to the African continent. All the countries where Proparco operates have been hard hit by the health and economic consequences of the pandemic. Proparco is supporting the private sector wherever it intervenes.

For example, in Costa Rica: Proparco has recently reaffirmed its commitment to SMEs. To support Banco Promerica during this crisis, Proparco has renewed its partnership by granting it a USD 45 million credit line in late 2020 dedicated to its recovery plan for its SME clients. 

Finally, to support the most fragile and least developed countries (LDCs), Proparco and IFC also signed a framework agreement in May 2020 enabling them to collaborate more closely to deliver stronger development impact and accelerate economic recovery in the LDCs in the wake of the Covid-19 global crisis.

Our actions to face the crisis

Formation de Fansoto au Sénégal
Our projects
  • In India, in 2021, PROPARCO reinvested USD 5m in the LOK III Growth CatalystPartners fund to support companies in the financial inclusion sector impacted by the Covid-19 crisis and allow them to continue to allocate loans to MSMEs and the poorest people in the country. Read the press release
  • In Mauritius, in 2021, PROPARCO and its German counterpart DEG signed a USD 65m loan with Mauritius Commercial Bank Limited (MCB). The objective is to support Mauritian businesses affected by the crisis Read the press release
  • In Georgia, in 2021, PROPARCO allocated a grant to Evex Hospitals to support its operations against Covid-19.Read the press release
  • In Peru, in late 2020, PROPARCO renewed its support to the bank BanBif via a USD 50m loan to support its financing activities to SMEs affected by the crisis. Read the press release
  • In Costa Rica, in late 2020, PROPARCO allocated a new credit line to Banco Promerica to finance SMEs during this crisis caused by the Covid-19 crisis.Read the press release
  • In Georgia, in late 2020, PROPARCO allocated a USD 5m loan to Credo Bank to support the short-term needs of the bank’s clients and help microenterprises and small and medium-sized enterprisesovercome the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 crisis. Read the press release
  • In late 2020, EIB and bilateral European Development Finance Institutions (EDFIs) launched a EUR 280m financing initiative to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on private sector companies in developing countries. Read the press release
Joint EDFI statements on COVID-19


Joint statements of development finance institutions:





Development finance institutions join forces to help alleviate impact of COVID-19 in developing countries

The Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) of 16 OECD countries, grouped under the DFI Alliance, issued a joint statement where they commit to find solutions that will reduce the impact of COVID-19 in developing countries, especially on essential business activities, and help in the recovery. The group will work collaboratively to identify mechanisms designed to bring liquidity to the market, sustain companies, return them to full production, and restore employment opportunities.

Read the full statement




2X Challenge and Gender Finance Collaborative response to the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting global health, economic and financial systems at remarkable speed. Emerging markets are expected to be especially hard hit by the qapandemic and its aftermath, and development finance institutions (DFIs) are coming together to identify common solutions to help the private sector in these markets weather the crisis.

As DFI-led initiatives with expertise in gender lens investing, the 2X Challenge and the Gender Finance Collaborative (GFC) stress that the COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to disproportionately affect women and girls, and our response to it should take these differences into account. We are therefore calling for a gender-sensitive response to the crisis by investors, including our peer DFIs, by providing a set of practical recommendations to incorporate in to COVID-19 relief strategies.

Read the full statement



Scaling up cooperation among Development Finance Institutions in response to COVID-19

Today, we are facing a health and economic crisis unprecedented in its size and complexity – affecting both supply and demand, developed and developing countries – and disrupting markets, trade, investment-led growth and job creation. The IMF anticipates a global economic contraction of 3% while the World Bank foresees a 35% decrease in FDI flows to developing countries due to the impact of COVID-19.

Read the full Statement


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