The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation’s West Africa SME Program receives €10 million to finance Covid-19 recovery, job creation, support SMEs and the private sector.

Abidjan – July 05, 2021: The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB), granted a Euro 10 Million Murabaha financing to Bridge Bank Group, Cote d’Ivoire (BBGCI). The facility represents a significant portion of BBGCI’s remaining 2021 trade financing requirements and enables BBGCI to support the Bank’s growing private sector clients as well as small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

BBGCI, Cote d’Ivoire’s nineth largest bank by total assets, will make the funding available to the Bank’s growing client-base, especially importers operating in sectors such as energy (petroleum), foodstuffs, agribusiness, and construction.

Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Nazeem Noordali, Chief Operating Officer of ITFC, who signed on behalf of ITFC said:

ITFC is committed to supporting the private sector and SMEs in all our member-States. This is not only to help their economies recover better from the challenges created by the covid-19 pandemic but also to power their growth and enable the creation of sustainable jobs. Our partnership with BBGCI forms part of our overall strategy to support SMEs and the private sector support in Côte d’Ivoire and in the African region by providing funding through ITFC’s West Africa SME Program.”

The West Africa SME Program aims at improving SMEs’ access to financing in eight West African Countries through the provision of Capacity Building and Advisory Services to partner banks, in addition to training SMEs and supporting them in their credit application process. The Program supports the SME sector growth in the WAEMU zone, which in addition to Côte d’Ivoire, includes Burkina Faso, Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The Program enables entrepreneurs to strengthen business viability by accessing capacity development training in the crucial areas of accounting and finance, business plan development, and management best practices amongst others. Furthermore, the Program deploys assistance to banks to strengthen SME lending practices to modernize assessment tools and lending processes.

On his part, Mr. Ehouman Kassi, Chief Executive Officer of BBGCI added that:

“We are delighted by the signing of this first Murabaha financing facility with ITFC which will boost our capacity to support our clients during this tough time due to Covid 19 pandemic across the globe. This facility is in line with our strategy to increase our trade financing books in order to support mostly the SMEs trading internationally. We believe this to be the first step in our long-lasting relationship with ITFC as we are looking forward to provide access to the ITFC’s West Africa SME Program to our selected customers. This program as well as the Trade financing facility will strengthen the overall capacity of the Bank towards its core customer base (SME) allowing it to take advantage of the expected rebound in our economies.”