IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and the Association Al Amana pour la Promotion des Microentreprises, a leading microfinance institution in Morocco, have signed an investment agreement to promote the country’s microfinance sector. The US$20mn agreement, which includes a subordinated loan to Al Amana, a local currency guarantee, and a partial credit guarantee, will help the company increase its microfinance operations and improve services for more than 400,000 active borrowers.

Al Amana helps low-income people become productive contributors to economic growth, giving them the opportunity to improve their lives and escape poverty. Al Amana provides financial support and advice, particularly to women in rural areas and young people, many of whom have lucrative projects but lack access to the traditional banking system. Al Amana is part of the Women World Banking network, a close partner of IFC.

Fouad Abdelmoumni, Al Amana’s general manager, stresses the importance of microlending. He also notes, “Our growth in the region is critical as we expand our products and services to reach poor people who seek to become successful entreprenEuropean s. IFC’s support will provide us with better leverage and help increase our microfinance operations throughout Morocco.”

Jyrki Koskelo, IFC director for global financial markets, adds, “This project shows IFC’s continued priority to promote the sustainable development of microfinance associations in Morocco. The package demonstrates our continued efforts to support the microfinance sector, an industry that serves the poorest segments of the society with crucial access to financial resources.”