Sound financial systems: the backbone of Africa’s economic development

banques
Africa
ACCESS TO CREDIT
Sound financial systems:
the backbone of Africa’s economic development
SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa generate nearly
60%
of total employment and one third of the region’s GDP
89%
of all micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises have no access to credit and make no use of it.
€554m
committed by Proparco in 2015 to the financial sector in the developing world
SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA – With average annual GDP growth of over 5% since 2000, Sub-Saharan Africa is one the most economically vibrant regions in the world today. That trend can be attributed in large part to strong commodity exports, improved macroeconomic policies and a burgeoning middle class. But the continent needs to diversify its growth drivers, and that requires efficient financial institutions able to help businesses invest. Especially small businesses.

Since the 1990s, Africa’s financial systems – the banks, stock exchanges, microfinance organizations and other institutions providing financial resources to the broader economy – have undergone major change. Although long-dominated by a handful of institutions, undermined by serial liquidity and solvency crises, the financial sector has gradually become healthier and deeper. Resilient and efficient private-sector banks have taken advantage of a more effectively regulated environment to extend their reach and offer new services and financial instruments to companies  and individuals alike. Some of them have adopted regional strategies that have given them the critical mass they need to be able to finance infrastructure and other large-scale projects.

The Akuapem Rural Bank Ltd., founded in 1980, in the town of Mamfe, Ghana, June 19, 2006
PRO_BANQUES
Machava BCI Bank Autobank Counter staff. Mozambique
DISSEMINATING RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS PRACTICES
As essential participants in the African economy, financial intermediaries are also instrumental in disseminating responsible business practices among the companies they finance. Proparco therefore assists them in setting up systems for managing the environmental and social risks associated with their operations and those of the companies in their portfolios, in adhering to principles for the protection of microfinance clients and in combating money laundering and terrorism financing.
Business colleagues review information on computer screen. Ghana
SMALL BUSINESSES – STILL CONSIDERED TOO RISKY
Half of all small businesses south of the Sahara still suffer from inadequate access to funding, however, as a number of banks continue to classify them as high-risk clients. Moreover, those 50 million African SMEs play a vital role in the local economy, generating nearly 60% of total employment and one third of the region’s combined GDP (source: IFC).

Funding for energy, water, transport, telecommunications and other such infrastructure is likewise in short supply on the continent, even as financing needs have mounted steadily to an estimated €80bn a year. Another significant indicator is that two out of three adults are “unbanked” and therefore haveno access to financial services. Yet the ability to save money, access credit and take out insurance is often a prerequisite for starting a business, buying a home and insuring against the risk of illness. Despite noteworthy progress over the past two decades, local banks still have only limited ability to make large-long-term loans or, for that matter, to assess complex projects such as public-private partnerships. At the same time, the bond market,
Traders work on the floor of the Ghana Stock Exchange in Accra, Ghana, June 15, 2006
FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES AS SDG PARTNERS?
Financial intermediaries have a vital role to play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015, above all because they are able to mobilize resources and expand their service offer for small businesses, infrastructure projects and retail guaranteeing debt issuance. Proparco, for example, is authorized to guarantee financial market transactions in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). With 39 companies listed and total capitalization of €1.17bn, the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), the securities exchange shared by the UEMOA’s eight member countries, was established to make it easier for companies to access the resources they need to grow. customers.

Like its peers, Proparco assists banks in making the most of that ability. The institution helps them gain a clearer view of small business credit risk by putting in place special analytical tools, provides the long-term resources (up to 20 years) in local or foreign currency (euro or dollar) needed to finance investments and supports their efforts to promote financial inclusion.

Proparco also extends dedicated lines of credit to enable banks to invest more extensively in renewable energy, agriculture and healthcare – areas that typically receive little in the way of commercial bank financing.

In addition, development finance institutions can contribute to capital market expansion by guaranteeing debt issuance. Proparco, for example, is authorized to guarantee financial market transactions in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). With 39 companies listed and total capitalization of €1.17bn, the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), the securities exchange shared by the UEMOA’s eight member countries, was established to make it easier for companies to access the resources they need to grow.
femmes, téléphone
The National Microfinance Bank gives priority to mobile services and SMEs
Only 6% of adults and 8% of SMEs in Tanzania have access to bank credit. The National Microfinance Bank (NMB) was founded in 1997 with the aim of reversing that trend. In five years’ time, the NMB doubled the number of its retail clients and expanded its branch network into rural areas. It has become the country’s leading bank. The NMB’s current ambition is to increase its SME client base and develop new mobile banking services to facilitate transactions for people with no nearby bank branches or ATMs. The NMB also aims to extend its financial education program for school children, based on the reasoning that greater familiarity with financial products and risks will help young people understand their economic environment and make sensible choices.
In conjunction with its Dutch counterpart, FMO, Proparco made a $30m loan to NMB to support the rollout of that strategy.
MSME ACCESS TO CREDIT / SOURCE OF FINANCING in Sub-Saharan Africa
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