Share this page
On the occasion of the 3rd edition of the Finance in Common Summit (FICS), Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer of Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Proparco and Ecobank Côte d’Ivoire signed two portfolio guarantees, ARIZ and EURIZ, for a total amount of FCFA 5.5 billion (equivalent to € 8.4 million). These guarantees will enable Ecobank Côte d’Ivoire to accelerate its financing of Very Small and Medium Enterprises (VSEs) in the country, especially those owned or managed by women as part of its initiative in favor of women entrepreneurship, “Ellever”.

This new partnership comes at the end of the Finance in Common Summit (FICS) which brought together all public development banks from October 18 to 20 in Abidjan. Proparco thus reaffirms its commitment to African entrepreneurship, which plays a key role in job creation and access to essential goods and services on the continent.

Ecobank Côte d’Ivoire is a major banking institution in the country and an expert in SME financing. AFD Group and Ecobank Côte d’Ivoire have had an important partnership for several years for the development of the Ivorian private sector.

The ARIZ portfolio guarantee, with 50% coverage, is one of AFD Group’s emblematic tools, particularly effective in encouraging investment and job creation in SMEs operating in many sectors of activity (agriculture, health, industry, microfinance, transport, etc.).

The EURIZ guarantee, which is supported by the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (OACPS), will enable Ecobank Côte d’Ivoire to support investments by SMEs with a high developmental impact by sharing 70% of the credit risk. It specifically targets social sectors, agriculture, climate co-benefit investments and women-owned or -led businesses, which is a key focus of Ecobank’s strategy, particularly through its “Ellevate” initiative. It is in this sense that Séfora Kodjo, founder of the SEPHIS Foundation, which works for women’s leadership, participated in the ceremony, in the presence of two women entrepreneurs who benefit from a support from the SEPHIS Foundation.

These loan offers guaranteed by Proparco are part of the French Choose Africa initiative, implemented by the AFD Group, which aims to commit 3.5 billion euros to African start-ups, VSEs and SMEs over the 2018-2022 period.

AFD, through its private sector dedicated subsidiary Proparco, has always worked closely with banking institutions and in particular Ecobank Côte d’Ivoire to support SME financing on the continent. The implementation of the Choose Africa initiative reinforces our commitment to respond more concretely to the needs of SMEs, particularly those operating in high-impact sectors,” said Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer of Agence Française de Développement.

For Paul-Harry Aithnard, Director of Ecobank Côte d’Ivoire, Executive Director for the WAEMU region, “Ecobank Côte d’Ivoire is very proud of this new partnership with Proparco which establishes a relationship of trust between the two institutions. This partnership will make it possible to provide additional financing to SMEs, an essential link in the development of our economies and the creation of wealth and jobs. Indeed, SMEs are one of the strategic priorities of the Ecobank Group. It is important that international players such as Proparco contribute to consolidate this march towards more inclusive economies”.