Earlier today the European Investment Bank, the European Union’s long-term lending institution, agreed to provide a EUR 10 million loan to support Bank of Africa’s expansion in the region. This initiative will reinforce development of a solid and professional banking sector and introduce best-banking practices in West Africa. The formal agreement was signed in Dakar earlier today by Mohamed Bennani, CEO Bank of Africa and Christophe Lucet, Head of the European Investment Bank’s regional representation in West Africa.

“This agreement demonstrates the shared values of the European Investment Bank and Bank of Africa Group in recognising the importance of strong performance and stability in the banking sector for development on the continent. This agreement further shows the trusting relationship between the two institutions over the last 10 years.” said Mohamed Bennani, Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Africa Group.

Highlighting the importance of the loan Plutarchos Sakellaris, European Investment Bank Vice President for Africa said “The European Investment Bank recognises that a strong financial sector is essential for private sector growth in Africa. We look forward to working closely with Bank of Africa to enhance banking practice in the region. This initiative will enable private sector funding to help reduce the impact of the economic crisis in West African countries where banks have a limited presence.”

The loan signed today will contribute to finance development of Bank of Africa’s network across countries in the West African Economic and Monetary Union, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Togo and Senegal. This is ultimately expected to increase competition in financial services and lower the cost of a range of financial services. The regional approach of this initiative will further contribute to regional economic integration and increased cross-border financial services in West Africa.

This is the first lending operation by the European Investment Bank with Bank of Africa at group level, and follows previous operations with Bank of Africa subsidiaries in Niger and Uganda. This initiative addresses the need for long-term funding in the West African banking sector and will act as a catalyst for private sector funding for Bank of Africa Group.

Additional support to Bank of Africa is also provided in particular by FMO of the Netherlands, Proparco of France, and BIO of Belgium.

Notes for Editors:

  • The European Investment Bank is the European Union’s long-term lending institution. Last year the EIB provided EUR 72 billion for 460 projects around the world.
  • Bank of Africa Group, subsidiary of BMCE Bank operated in 14 African countries and France. Formed nearly 30 years ago in Mali it now employs 4000 people and on 31st December 2010 reported a net profit of EUR 44.5 million and turnover of EUR 3.2 billion.