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Tunis, 17 July 2008 – The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved under the private sector window a US$ 8 million line of credit to Mauritania’s Trade and Industry Bank (BCI).
The line of credit (LOC) will enable BCI to increase its on-lending activities to SMEs in the construction, commercial, manufacturing, tourism, agribusiness, fisheries, and service sectors. The BCI is targeting existing export-oriented SMEs with high growth potential, to enable them to modernize, expand and rehabilitate their operations as the case may be. The lessons learned by the AfDB from similar previous operations show that local resource-based, export-oriented enterprises generally have a strong economic impact and the highest success rates. The LOC is expected to finance about 20 enterprises.
The LOC will complement the support from other development finance institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and the Arab Trade Development Program. The AfDB’s support will create a catalytic effect on resource mobilization among other development partners. It will provide BCI long and medium term resources to strengthen and deepen the Mauritanian financial sector, thus improving the business environment in general and the SMEs in particular. The LOC will enable BCI to better match local demand for medium- and long-term credit and the availability of long-term resources that are scarce in Mauritania.
Mauritania’s financial sector is relatively small with a strong emphasis on commercial banking activities. The banking system is made up of the Central Bank of Mauritania (CBM) and ten commercial banks. The financial sector also comprises four insurance companies, one leasing company (Mauritania Leasing), and about 40 microfinance institutions.
The BCI started operations in 1999 with the opening of its headquarters in Nouakchott and BCI has since expanded its operations to become one of the key players in the Mauritanian banking sector with 8 branches and a market share of about 15%.
The Générale des Banques de Mauritanie (GBM) was the first Mauritanian financial institution to benefit from a LOC from the AfDB. The resource has been fully disbursed.