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Posted on January 25, 2022 | Updated at 9AM

FinDev Canada and the Ecobank Group create new opportunities for SMEs in Africa with US$ 20 million loan to Ecobank

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Lomé and Montreal, January 25, 2022 - FinDev Canada announced today a US$ 20 million loan to Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, the parent company of the Ecobank Group - the leading pan-African banking group, with operations across 33 countries in Africa. The financing will support Ecobank in strengthening its digital finance operations and help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa to grow, maintain or create jobs as they build prosperity. At least half of the loan will be used in low income countries within the Ecobank Group, with 30% of the total amount reserved for women-owned or managed businesses.

SMEs make up about 90% of businesses in Africa yet they struggle to find affordable financing to grow. There is an estimated US$ 136 billion gap between what SMEs need in credit and what the market can offer. Ecobank has a strong presence among these businesses, with more than 800,000 of them as clients. Ecobank was recently named the ‘2021 SME Bank of the Year’ by the African Banker Awards.

“FinDev Canada is proud to partner with Ecobank, which has demonstrated its effectiveness in supporting the SME sector in Africa,” said Paulo Martelli, Chief Investment Officer of FinDev Canada. “In particular, it has helped these companies to weather the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic by expanding SME-focused lines of credit. We are joining other Development Finance Institutions to support Ecobank as it continues to catalyze funding for the resilience and growth of SMEs in Africa.”

Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO said, “Ecobank is pleased to have entered into this US$20 million transaction with FinDev Canada which will help in our unrelenting focus on growing SMEs, the life blood of economies across our continent.  The loan will also further support our continued partnerships with African fintechs in bringing innovative digital services to even more customers.  We express appreciation to FinDev Canada for supporting Africa and its development.” 

Local market development
With over 13,000 employees in about 700 branch locations across the continent, Ecobank has a large footprint in terms of market presence and the impact on local economies. The FinDev Canada loan will also support Ecobank in working with African fintech firms to reinforce its digital services and expand its offerings. This will help to improve banking services and access to credit for SMEs as well as increase financial inclusion for millions of people across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Women’s economic empowerment
At least half of the women-owned or led SMEs in Ecobank’s five largest markets have only limited access to credit. With 30% of the FinDev Canada’s loan dedicated to supporting these companies, this under-served population will get a significant boost. Along with internal policies and programs to provide quality employment to women across Ecobank, this makes the loan eligible to qualify for the 2X Challenge.


Development Finance Institutions and COVID-19
FinDev Canada has a mandate to support companies that have a presence in the areas most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Investments will help guarantee that developing markets continue to have liquidity, providing important support for the recovery of the economic and social consequences of this crisis.

About FinDev Canada
The Development Finance Institute Canada (DFIC) Inc., operating under the FinDev Canada brand, is a Canadian institution dedicated to providing financial services to the private sector in developing countries with the aim of combating poverty through economic growth by focusing on three main topics: economic development through job creation, women’s economic empowerment, and climate change mitigation. The Development Finance Institute Canada Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Export Development Canada (EDC).

About the 2X Challenge
The 2X Challenge was founded by the Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) from the G7 as a call to action to shift more capital towards investments that empower women in developing countries to access entrepreneurship and leadership opportunities, quality jobs, and products and services that enhance their economic participation. More information about the 2X Challenge can be found here:

What’s the criteria for qualifying for a 2X investment?

  • Whether a business is majority owned by women or founded by a woman
  • The share of women in senior management or on the board
  • The share of women in the workforce
  • Whether a product or service specifically or disproportionately benefits women
  • If a certain percent of loan proceeds in a deal through financial intermediaries supports women.

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) is the parent company of the Ecobank Group, the leading independent pan-African banking group. The Ecobank Group employs about 14,000 people and serves over 29 million customers in the consumer, commercial and corporate banking sectors across 33 African countries. The Group has a banking licence in France and representative offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Beijing, China; London, the UK and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. The Group offers a full suite of banking products, services and solutions including bank and deposit accounts, loans, cash management, advisory, trade, securities, wealth and asset management. ETI is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchanges in Lagos, the Ghana Stock Exchange in Accra, and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières in Abidjan. For further information please visit

Media contacts:

FinDev Canada
Angela Rodriguez
Head of Marketing and Communications

Christiane Bossom
Group Communications Manager
Tel: +228 22 21 03 03