(Ecofin Agency) - In a strategic move to support green small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), young entrepreneurs, and female-led firms in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gambia, and Sierra Leone, the financial holding company Vista has inked a guarantee agreement with the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) for a credit portfolio exceeding CFA60 billion. The AGF announced this groundbreaking partnership on Tuesday, January 16, 2024.
Under the agreement, the AGF will provide a guarantee of CFA30 billion (about $50 million) to Vista Group Holding, headed by Burkina Faso's financial services entrepreneur, Simon Tiemtoré. This guarantee is designed to empower Vista in extending its loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the four West African countries where it operates.
The financial holding, now under the leadership of banker Yao Kouassi since January 1, 2024, aims to allocate over CFA60 billion (about $100 million) in loans to its SME clients in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gambia, and Sierra Leone. The focus of these loans will primarily be on businesses in the green economy, young entrepreneurs, and SMEs led by women.
As part of this initiative, SMEs founded and led by women will receive 20% of the total amount guaranteed by the AGF for Vista Group. Moreover, they will benefit from technical assistance provided by the Afawa program, which aims to enhance the access of African women to financing.
Through this risk-sharing mechanism facilitated by the AGF, Vista Group can fortify its financial stability and that of its four African subsidiaries by mitigating risks associated with SMEs in its loan portfolio. For eligible enterprises, this initiative translates into increased resources essential for their growth.
Yao Kouassi said this facility will allow Vista to expand “our reach and provide financial support to businesses that drive the economic development of these West African countries." It is noteworthy that this agreement marks the first collaboration between the AGF and Vista Group Holding at the beginning of this year.