COTE D’IVOIRE— NSIA Banque Côte d’Ivoire (NSIA) has secured a one-year senior loan amounting to US$28 million (€25 million) the help the bank finance business that have been worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With IFC’s support, NSIA, one of Côte d’Ivoire’s largest commercial banks, will increase its lending to traders, corporate clients and SME’s, despite contractions to the financial market caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

IFC’s project intends to help the bank provide working capital and trade-related lending to corporate and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) clients over two years.

“We are proud and honored to have been selected by IFC, as the first banking institution in Côte d’Ivoire to benefit from this innovative financing mechanism adapted to market needs,” Léonce Yacé, Managing Director of NSIA, said.

The loan is IFC’s first investment in Côte d’Ivoire as part of its global COVID-19 fast-track financing support package.

According to IFC, this financial support package is designed to help client financial institutions — and the thousands of smaller businesses they support—weather COVID-19-related disruptions.

IFC’s revealed that its loan to NSIA is supported by the International Development Association’s Private Sector Window (IDA PSW) Blended Finance Facility.

The facility is backing IFC’s COVID-19 working capital loan facility with a first-loss guarantee of up to US$215 million in eligible countries.

 “This investment demonstrates how IFC is working to help businesses in Côte d’Ivoire to operate, preserve jobs, and accelerate economic recovery amid the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Olivier Buyoya, IFC’s Country Manager for Cote d’Ivoire said.

Earlier this year, IFC invested in a XOF40 billion (US$67.5 million) securitization program with NSIA.

The loan marked the first securitization loan originated and serviced by a commercial bank in the West African Monetary Union (WAMU) .

Through the Loan, NSIA was able to increase its lending to SMEs and access local capital markets and long-term, cost-effective funding through a source matched to its underlying assets.

COVID-19’s economic and social impacts are expected to be substantial in Côte d’Ivoire, with GDP growth expected to drop from 6.9% in 2019 to 2.7% in 2020.

IFC notes that the country’s key export sectors—cocoa and related products, oil, rubber and cashew—risk a slow-down due to volatility on the global markets and dropping demand.

Liked this article? Subscribe to DealStreet Africa News, our regular email newsletter with the latest news, deals and insights from Africa’s business, economy and more. SUBSCRIBE HERE