(Business in Cameroon) - The International Finance Corporation (IFC) signed, on June 29, a partnership agreement with Cameroonian bank CCA Bank. The agreement allows the Cameroonian bank to grant loans to MSMEs, with a particular emphasis on women-led or owned businesses, thanks to a 10 billion CFA Francs ($16.6 million) credit line opened by the IFC.
"CCA-Bank is the only bank in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) to be headed by a female CEO and two female deputy CEOs, making it an example of female leadership in the region," notes the IFC, which has earmarked 25% of the funds made available to the Cameroonian bank to finance exclusively women-owned and managed businesses.
"Understanding the important role women play in the economy, CCA-Bank, through its women-specific banking program and in collaboration with IFC, will position itself as the choice bank for women currently unserved or underserved by the formal financial system. The initiative thus aims to finance and strengthen Cameroon's female entrepreneurs, to stimulate development and economic growth. As for MSMEs, which form the backbone of the Cameroonian economy, the need to support their expansion cannot be overstated," said Marguerite Fonkwen Atanga, the new managing director of CCA Bank.
According to the IFC, despite being key drivers of private sector growth in Cameroon, accounting for almost 100% of formally registered businesses and nearly 60% of the country's formal employment, MSMEs still face funding challenges. "Segments with underserved financing needs, such as women-owned or women-led businesses, face even more stringent credit constraints," stresses the World Bank subsidiary.