The African Development Bank has approved US$ 20 million loan facility to boost lending to small and medium-sized enterprises in Liberia.
The loan, approved by the Board of Directors of the Bank, is a trade finance package for three Liberian commercial banks: Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI); International Bank of (Liberia) Limited (IBL) and Afriland First Bank Liberia Limited.
It consists of a composite funded and unfunded package under which the African Development Bank will provide funding to the three banks and a guaranty facility to allow international banks to extend confirmation lines to Liberian local banks.
Lack of trade finance has negatively impacted Liberia’s economic growth, especially in the agriculture sector –which is heavily reliant on the importation of farm implements such as fertilizer and machinery.
This has affected the manufacturing sector, which is highly dependent on imported raw materials (intermediate goods) and capital goods (machineries and spare parts).
The US$20 million facility will provide access to short-term trade finance and expand the capacity of Liberian banks to extend liquidity support to SMEs to spur development in agriculture, services, manufacturing and construction sectors. It will also give confidence to international banks to enable them provide more lines for Liberian local banks.
The project is aligned with Bank feed Africa and industrialize Africa development priorities, and its financial sector development strategy, which promotes increased access finance for SMEs, and the widening and deepening of financial support.
Liberian SMEs in key sectors such as agriculture, food transformation industry and reconstruction is expected to benefit from this funding.