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FMO has executed its first investment in the financial sector of Sierra Leone. FMO and A Call to Business Savings and Loans (ACTB) signed a 3-year loan agreement to support on-lending to micro-entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Sierra Leone. The loan is provided in Sierra Leonean Leones (SLL), at the equivalent of USD 1.5 million. The transaction will support much needed access to finance for small entrepreneurs and support job creation in a post-conflict country in which the majority of the population is unbanked. The local currency structure will limit foreign exchange risk for ACTB and its end clients.
ACTB was established in 2008 and expanded from an initial investment of USD 3.000 to two businessmen to a deposit-taking NBFI with Total Assets over USD 7 million in 2018. ACTB is one of the largest regulated microfinance providers and serves over 17.000 clients, of which the majority are women. Apart from loans, ACTB offers payments, remittances and savings. To prepare for future growth, ACTB is investing in digital solutions such as a mobile money platform.
Mr. David Kamara, CEO of ACTB, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with FMO. ACTB is leading the drive for financial inclusion in Sierra Leone and FMO’s investment represents a significant step forward towards helping us realise our social impact targets and expansion ambitions. We look forward to developing our partnership with FMO on this exciting next stage of ACTB’s journey.”
The loan is being provided by the MASSIF Fund, which FMO manages on behalf of the Dutch government and focuses on investing in the growth of financial institutions in the least developed countries. The MASSIF Fund aims to take the early high investment risks and act as a catalyst for the growth of the private financial sector and financial inclusion, easing the way for other investors to follow in these frontier markets.
Jeroen Harteveld, MASSIF Fund Manager, commented: “we are pleased to start working with ACTB to provide much needed support to empower an emerging group of entrepreneurs of which most are women. Recovering from the devastating Ebola outbreak in 2014-16, Sierra Leone is a post-conflict country with strong growth potential. MASSIF looks forward to supporting entrepreneurs to seize those opportunities, thereby creating jobs and improving livelihoods.”
|Photo credits ACTB - Client ACTB in Sierra Leone|