Senegal, an IDA country in Sub-Saharan Africa with a population of 15.5 million, has low rates of financial inclusion. According to estimates, just 20% of the adults in the region have access to the formal banking system, which is particularly challenging for the agricultural sector, a key driver of Senegal’s economic growth. For many smallholders, as well as micro, small, and medium sized enterprises, high costs of capital and a lack of affordable financing solutions leaving them with little ability to access the formal agricultural market.
Union des Mutuelles Alliance de Credit et d'Epargne pour la Production Senegal, one of the largest credit co-operatives in Senegal, has more than 200,000 members and strong presence and reach across the country. UM-ACEP, as it is known, provides financial services to underserved smallholder farmers, and micro, small, and medium sized enterprises, particularly in rural areas. The joint IFC and GAFSP investment in UM-ACEP will support the company’s lending program in the agricultural sector in Senegal, expanding its reach into Senegal’s under-served communities and boosting opportunities for micro, small, and medium sized enterprises, which have fewer financing options than established companies and large exporters. In doing so, it will boost farmer access to the agribusiness value chain,
The investment, which is providing long-term local currency financing and is IFC’s first in a microfinance co-operative in Sub-Saharan Africa, offers the opportunity to grow UM-ACEP’s lending in this underserved segment of Senegal’s economy. It is also improving the availability and affordability of financing solutions, particularly for unserved communities and women in the agriculture sector.
The investment will extend financing to Senegalese farmers, increasing the productivity and income of smallholders across the country. Nearly 40 percent of UM-ACEP’s client base is comprised of women-owned micro-enterprises. The investment will support underserved markets, while also boosting the perception of commercial viability for UM-ACEP and other local financial cooperatives.
Mr. Niraj H. Shah
Principal Investment Officer
Program Manager, GAFSP Private Sector Window
Tel: 202 473 3743