Atlas Mara and OPIC partner with $300 million to advance inclusive lending in Africa


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ATLAS Mara in partnership with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. government’s development finance institution have raised a combined US$300 million facility to support acquisition finances and on-lending across Africa.

In a statement, Atlas Mara said under the terms of the agreement, OPIC will provide $200 million in long-term debt and Atlas Mara will provide $100 million of committed resources for a combined $300 million project.

“The project will support BancABC, Atlas Mara’s Southern African banking platform by expanding operations in the region.

“BancABC will scale up its SME loan portfolio, increase on-lending for financial inclusion products, and invest in information technology upgrades to quicken implementation of its new financial technology and mobile banking initiatives,” it said.

Atlas Mara added that together these initiatives will enable the group to increase its presence in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Furthermore, $130 million of OPIC’s $200 million debt under this project will be dedicated towards financing strategic acquisitions to facilitate expansion of Atlas Mara’s platform, footprint, and channels bolstering its developmental impact reach. Final closing of terms and conditions is anticipated during the fall of 2015.”

Atlas Mara CEO John Vitalo said the partnership with OPIC is a significant milestone for Atlas Mara which will enable the group to further accelerate growth strategy and to deliver stated goals.

These include being an innovation driven, scale player and contributing positively to the communities in which they operate, particularly with respect to increasing access to financial products and services to the under-banked.

“This project also serves as a powerful endorsement of our thesis regarding the prospects for sub-Saharan African financial services and Atlas Mara,” he said.

BancABC acting CEO of Blessing Mudavanhu said the bank looks forward to building sub-Saharan Africa’s premier financial institution.

“BancABC is delighted to have been selected by OPIC in this landmark initiative which validates our strategy and local expertise. We have greatly benefitted from Atlas Mara’s vision,” he said.

Elizabeth Littlefield, President and CEO of OPIC said the partnership will create financial inclusion programs and access to funding for SMEs, increase the proliferation of mobile solutions and instil best practices for durable economic development. FinX