• Just three months after signing a financing arrangement with the EIB, the BCI has already granted MRU 280 million (€6.5 million) in loans to five SMEs to support employment, entrepreneurship and access to finance for Mauritania’s women and youth.
  • The loans were made in areas like health, clean energy and sustainable food systems. They are a tangible contribution to the Team Europe Initiatives of green transition and stronger human development in Mauritania, set by the European Commission for 2021-2027.
  • The BCI will grant MRU 1 billion (€25 million) in loans to SMEs and mid-caps under the arrangement with the EIB, supporting around 3 000 jobs, especially for youth and women.

A fine example of financial partnership in the strategic cooperation between Mauritania and the European Union

On 8 February 2024, following the visit by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to Mauritania and in the wake of new commitments to strengthen the EU-Mauritania partnership, Isselmou Ould Tajidine, CEO of the Banque pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (BCI) and Markus Berndt, Deputy Managing Director of EIB Global, the EIB’s development branch, announced a financing arrangement for €25 million.

Three months later, on 23 May 2024, Tajidine signed the first five loans under the arrangement with Mauritanian entrepreneurs, in a ceremony attended by Rita Laranjinha, Managing Director for Africa with the European External Action Service, and Gwilym Jones, EU Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

The five loans total MRU 280 million (or €6.5 million), almost 90% of which furthers the objective of women's economic participation as entrepreneurs, managers, employees and consumers of products and services in line with the 2X Challenge initiative; and 100% of which furthers the objective of supporting youth employment and entrepreneurship.

The loans were granted to priority sectors for the EU in Mauritania, such as health, agricultural value chains and solar energy.

  1. Clinique Chiva: Directed by Mint Ismail, this is one of the first private medical clinics in Mauritania. In recent years, it has been renovated, extended and given new equipment to meet the growing needs of a sector marked by a shortage of health services. By renovating its imaging machines (for MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, etc.) and laboratory equipment; purchasing new dental, cardiology and ophthalmology equipment; and extending the building to accommodate a full dialysis unit (intake, treatment and hospitalisation), the clinic will be able to expand the scope of its activity and create new jobs, all while reducing the need to discharge patients and transfer them to other countries.
  2. ETS Auto-DIAG: Founded in 2002, this company specialises in installing hybrid photovoltaic systems and primarily hires young people. It deploys off-grid and on-grid photovoltaic systems, using lithium batteries to store the energy produced. An important player in the sector in Mauritania, it offers solutions for industrial, small and medium-sized installations, as well as for mobile systems.
  3. Mauritanienne des Produits Alimentaires (MPA SA): This leading Mauritanian producer of pasta employing 215 people, including 135 women, has a production capacity of 140 tonnes a day. The loan from the BCI will finance the purchase of a new pasta production line to replace old machinery from 2002, with higher capacity to meet growing market demand.
  4. RIM FOAM-SARL: This company is a leading manufacturer in Mauritania of wadding mattresses and padding, with more than 25 years of experience producing high quality polyurethane foam. It employs 58 people, mainly youth, including 23 women.
  5. NEJAH 2: Among the leading businesses in Rosso for the packaging and sale of rice, this company employs 28 people, 75% of whom are women. The BCI loan will finance its operations as well as its growth, with the construction of warehouses and the acquisition of production equipment for automated rice processing and packaging (cleaning, milling, hulling, sorting, polishing, bagging, etc.).

Background information

About the European Investment Bank

The EIB is the lending institution of the European Union, owned by the Member States. It provides long-term financing for sound investment projects to achieve EU policy objectives.

The EIB has been a strong partner for African countries for more than 55 years. Through EIB Global, the Bank is strengthening its presence in Africa. Over the past decade, the EIB has provided more than €28 billion for investment in innovative technologies, green energy, water, education, agriculture, telecommunications, healthcare and businesses in 40 countries across the continent. Since 2019-2020 and the start of the pandemic alone, the EIB has provided more than €8.5 billion for new private and public investments across Africa.

EIB Global is the EIB Group's specialised arm devoted to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance. It is designed to foster strong, focused partnerships within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions and civil society. EIB Global brings the EIB Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through its offices around the world.

About the Banque pour le Commerce et l’Industrie

Founded in 1999, the BCI offers a wide range of financial services to individuals, businesses and institutions. It is Mauritania’s most international bank, thanks to subsidiaries in Mali, Guinea and Senegal and a vast network of correspondent banks. That makes the BCI a perfect partner for companies wishing to invest in Mauritania, particularly in the energy, telecommunications and transport sectors; and for domestic companies relying on imports or exports, especially in the agri-food and mining industries.

Website: www.bci-banque.com

About the European Union and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

The European Union has had a presence in Mauritania for the last 50 years. Together with the Member States (Team Europe), it works to promote the country’s socioeconomic development, in line with its national Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Shared Prosperity, the Mauritania roadmap 2016-2030 and the Global Gateway strategy. The EU’s main strategic objective in Mauritania is to foster the country’s stability and prosperity through sustainable development, including by strengthening its institutions and promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.

Its activities focus on the following priorities: (1) human development, (2) the transition to a green and blue economy and (3) good governance. It is active in the fields of health, education, technical and vocational training, environment, energy and support for the private sector, especially the productive sectors of fisheries, agriculture and livestock. It also supports Mauritania in the area of governance, working to modernise public administration and strengthen civil society, security and stability, as well as migration management.

Website: https://www.eeas.europa.eu/delegations/mauritania