JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, July 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced it will provide advisory services to help microfinance institution FINCA DRC expand low-cost financial services in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project is funded by a $1.8 million grant from The MasterCard Foundation.
IFC and The MasterCard Foundation will work with FINCA DRC to expand financial services to low-income individuals and smaller businesses in the country, which suffered through years of civil war and has one of the lowest rates of access to financial services in the world. There are currently fewer than 600,000 bank accounts for a population of 67 million.
David Crush, IFC Manager for Access to Finance Advisory Services in Sub-Saharan Africa said, “Microfinance helps low income clients build assets, increase income and reduce their vulnerability. That is more important in post-conflict countries than anywhere else. By supporting FINCA DRC to expand, IFC aims to help rebuild and strengthen one of the most fragile economies in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
While mainstream commercial banks in the DRC almost exclusively serve large corporate clients, FINCA DRC focuses on providing financial services to the small-scale entrepreneurs that constitute the larger part of the informal economy. It currently operates in four regions of the country, through a network of 13 branches. About 50 percent of its customers are women.
IFC will provide advisory services for three years to assist FINCA DRC develop branchless banking channels and new products so it can increase reach and mobilize savings.
The project is part of the Partnership for Financial Inclusion with The MasterCard Foundation, which aims to scale up microfinance and accelerate the development of mobile financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa to reach a total of 5.3 million previously unbanked customers on the continent by 2017.
International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank