BancABC clinches $300m financing deal

HARARE - BancABC’s parent company, Atlas Mara, has partnered with the United States (US) government’s development finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), for a $300 million project to finance acquisitions and on-lending across Africa.

Under the terms of the agreement, OPIC will provide $200 million in long-term debt and Atlas Mara will provide $100 million of committed resources, to expand the operations of Atlas Mara’s southern African banking platform BancABC.

BancABC will scale up its SME loan portfolio, increase on-lending for financial inclusion products, and invest in information technology upgrades to quicken implementation of its new financial technology and mobile banking initiatives, Atlas Mara said.

This announcement follows US President Barack Obama’s recent historic trip to Africa.

The OPIC approval is consistent with the US president’s commitment to African economic development, greater participation of African countries in the global economy, and fostering African entrepreneurship and financial inclusion.

The project will have a positive developmental impact enhancing one of sub-Saharan African’s fastest-growing financial institutions.

Together these initiatives will enable Atlas Mara to increase its presence in sub-Saharan Africa.

Furthermore, $130 million of OPIC’s $200 million debt under this project will be dedicated towards financing strategic acquisitions to facilitate expansion of Atlas Mara’s platform, footprint, and channels bolstering its developmental impact reach. Final closing of terms and conditions is anticipated during the fall of 2015.

OPIC president and chief executive Elizabeth Littlefield said her organisation was delighted to be able to partner with the first-rate international management team at Atlas Mara to help create a premier banking group for Africa and serve the needs of unbanked citizens and businesses.

“This partnership will create financial inclusion programmes and access to funding for SMEs, increase the proliferation of mobile solutions and instil best practices for durable economic development,” she said

Atlas Mara chief executive John Vitalo noted the significance of the partnership between OPIC and his institution.

“It will enable us to further accelerate our growth strategy and to deliver on our stated goals of being an innovation-driven, scale player and contributing positively to the communities in which we operate, particularly with respect to increasing access to financial products and services to the under-banked. This project also serves as a powerful endorsement of our thesis regarding the prospects for sub-Saharan African financial services and Atlas Mara,” he said.

BancABC acting chief executive Blessing Mudavanhu said the regional financial institution was delighted to have been selected by OPIC in this landmark initiative which validates its strategy and local expertise.

“We have greatly benefitted from Atlas Mara’s vision, and look forward to executing on building sub-Saharan Africa’s premier financial institution,” added Mudavanhu.

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