WEST AFRICA – The International Finance Corporation (IFC), through its Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP), has partnered with Vista Bank, which serves clients across West Africa with a wide range of financial services, to increase the availability of trade finance in Guinea and Burkina Faso and support imports of essential goods into the countries.
As part of the agreement, Vista Bank’s subsidiaries in Guinea and Burkina Faso will each receive US$12 million to be channelled towards financing imports of foodstuffs, raw materials, refined oil products, equipment, consumer goods, and other important items.
By joining IFC’s GTFP, Vista Bank will gain access to a network of correspondent banks, enhancing its ability to meet the financing needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
IFC will also provide technical support to help Vista Bank strengthen its corporate governance and risk management capacities, allowing it to better meet its clients’ needs.
“IFC’s investment is critical to help increase access to trade finance for our customers. On the market side, it will further connect Vista Bank’s cross-border connections, increasing countries’ integration through both financial and real sector channels.
“It will also help link more traders to other countries and connect Burkinabe and Guinean’s financial markets more deeply,” said Simon Tiemtoré, Chairman of Vista Group.
The partnership comes at a time when global transport and logistics systems are being disrupted and will support SME growth and innovation in Guinea and Burkina Faso.
While trade is a key driver for growth in Africa, the trade financing gap remains large, limiting the movement of goods on the continent.
“Increasing the availability of trade finance in Guinea and Burkina Faso is crucial to provide better access to essential goods, growth, and job retention and creation. The financing and advisory support announced builds on IFC’s partnership with Vista Bank and will help keep trade flowing during these times of increasing global economic uncertainty,” said Sérgio Pimenta, IFC’s Vice President for Africa.
In 2020, IFC provided advisory services to Vista Bank to strengthen its strategy and credit capabilities, helping it increase access to finance opportunities for local SMEs in Guinea, the Gambia, and Sierra Leone.
The partnership with Vista Bank underscores its commitment to supporting SME financing in Africa’s low-income and fragile countries.