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IFC Invests $37.7 Million in BNP Paribas Unit in Ivory Coast

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June 4 (Bloomberg) -- The World Bank’s International Finance Corp. invested 20 billion CFA francs ($37.7 million) in BNP Paribas SA’s unit in Ivory Coast, to raise capital for small- and medium-sized businesses in the West African nation.

The funding for BICICI is meant for companies in agriculture, health care, public works and transportation, according to a statement e-mailed on June 1, which was signed by the bank’s director general, Fabien Riguet, and IFC’s country representative, Cassandra Colbert.

“This agreement is the first IFC investment in the banking sector since the end of the crisis,” according to the IFC and the bank. “Small and medium-sized businesses in Ivory Coast are facing numerous difficulties including limited access to credit from commercial lenders.”

Ivory Coast’s economy contracted 4.7 percent in 2011 after a five-month crisis triggered by a disputed presidential election in November 2010. Growth this year is forecast at about 8 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.

To contact the reporter on this story: Baudelaire Mieu in Abidjan via Accra at bmieu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emily Bowers at ebowers1@bloomberg.net

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