The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group and the government of Guinea-Bissau signed a Cooperation Agreement to inaugurate the second Africa Leasing Facility program to ease access to finance to small businesses in the country.
The signing event marks the official launch of the program in the Republic of Guinea and seeks to promote and establish a leasing industry that meets the needs of SMEs and smaller businesses to better equip them to contribute to the post-conflict reconstruction of the country in a meaningful way. IFC will provide advisory services to the stakeholders and will help the government of Guinea-Bissau to reform the legal and regulatory framework for leasing and to build the capacity of technical partners in order to achieve effective access to finance for SMEs and smaller businesses, according to IFC.
“We welcome this timely agreement which will help improve access to finance of SMEs and strengthen the private sector” said The Minister of Economy and Finance of Guinea-Bissau, Mr. Geraldo Martins who signed the agreement.
Support to SMEs and smaller businesses for the development of the private sector is a key component of IFC’s commitment to Guinea-Bissau, along with directly financing projects in sectors that drive growth and public private partnerships to improve the country’s infrastructure.
“We believe that access to finance will be substantially improved and will allow SMEs to acquire production equipment and as a result, contribute to the economic recovery as evidenced in all countries where a leasing program operates”, added Jérôme Cretegny, IFC Country Manager for Guinea-Bissau.
Leasing is an innovative access to finance mechanism that is tailor-made for SMEs and smaller businesses in Africa that lack sufficient collateral or credit history to access conventional financing tools. During its first phase, the Leasing program was active in 15 countries. ALF II, the second phase of the program launched in 2013, focuses on 10 Fragile and Conflict-Affected States, including Guinea Bissau. Since 2013, Africa Leasing Facility II has benefited from the financial support of SECO, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland.