French development financier Proparco has signed a US$50mn trade finance guarantee agreement with pan-African banking group Ecobank.

The guarantee package will support the trade operations of four of Ecobank’s subsidiaries in West Africa – Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Mali with EBI SA, the group’s France-based subsidiary, thus helping to boost trade between African and European companies.

“This financing operation will enable the group to expand its range of activities,” says Charles Daboiko, CEO of Ecobank Côte d’Ivoire, adding that the deal forms part of a long-standing and well-established partnership between the two parties.

According to Grégory Clemente, Proparco’s CEO, the institution is expanding its range of financial instruments: “The deployment of a pilot trade finance loan forms part of Proparco’s objectives under its 2017-2020 strategy designed to meet customer requirements. We are delighted to conduct our first operation of this type with Ecobank.”

Law firm Hogan Lovells advised Proparco, the private sector financing arm of Agence Française de Développement (AFD), on the deal. The financier has been active in Côte d’Ivoire since it was founded in 1977. Its more recent operations there include projects such as the development of Abidjan International Airport, Azito and Ciprel thermal power stations, as well as various projects in the cement, agri-food and banking sector.