IFC, partners support women-owned businesses in South Africa
19-12-2019 11:48:00 | by: Pie Kamau | hits: 2084 | Tags:

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced a R600 million ($41 million) investment in Business Partners Ltd. (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) to strengthen women-owned businesses in South Africa and help create tens of thousands of jobs.

The senior long-term loan is supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility (WEOF). WEOF is a first-of-its-kind global finance facility dedicated to expanding access to capital for women entrepreneurs. It was launched in 2014 by IFC, through its Banking on Women program, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women.

The loan to BUSINESS/PARTNERS, a South African financial institution that supports small enterprises will enable more women entrepreneurs in South Africa to access capital.

BUSINESS/PARTNERS estimate its on-lending to smaller businesses will help create 55,000 jobs by the end of 2023.

Ben Bierman, Managing Director of BUSINESS/PARTNERS, said, “We are excited about this partnership with IFC and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women because it draws on their global expertise in supporting women in business, and leverages BUSINESS/PARTNERS’ strengths in the South African market.”

Adamou Labara, IFC Country Manager for South Africa, said, “Women entrepreneurs are changing the landscape of the global economy, creating sustainable jobs and economic growth. When we help unlock financing for women-owned businesses, we support an important engine of job creation in South Africa.”

Charlotte Keenan, Global Head of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, said, “We are committed to expanding access to finance and business education for women owned businesses. Our partnership in South Africa allows us to work with an experienced local institution, and to accelerate its ability to help more women owned enterprises in this important market to grow.”

To date, WEOF has supported 55 financial intermediaries in 35 countries. The cumulative investment amount stand at $1.76 billion. The facility has already reached 53,000 women entrepreneurs through its investments and is on track to reach 100,000 women globally.

While financial inclusion in South Africa has reached 69 percent, according to the latest World Bank Findex survey, 42 percent of formal micro, small and medium enterprises are still excluded from accessing the finance they need to grow and create jobs. IFC estimates the total formal sector MSME finance gap in South Africa is R426 billion ($29 billion), with demand from women-owned enterprises accounting for 17 percent of the gap.

The BUSINESS/PARTNERS loan is the fourth investment under IFC’s SME Push Program for South Africa. The SME Push Program partners with key stakeholders, including government agencies and financial institutions, to significantly increase funding for underserved segments of the SME market, which is the largest source of employment in the country.