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400 companies hold nearly 30% of credit in West African economic bloc

Tuesday, 16 April 2024 11:44
400 companies hold nearly 30% of credit in West African economic bloc

(Ecofin Agency) - The credit market in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) is dominated by a handful of companies. According to BCEAO data, nearly 30% of this market was in the hands of 400 companies at the end of December 2023.

Focusing on credits reported to the union’s banking risk central which are over CFA10 million, this group of 400 entities, representing less than 1% of the productive sector, controls 50.6% of the total outstanding credits issued by more than 130 banks operating in the region at the end of December 2023.

Credit concentration varies significantly from country to country within the economic zone. In Guinea-Bissau, where concentration is highest, the top 50 credit-receiving companies absorb 58.1% of the economy's credits. In Niger, the rate is 50.4%, indicating a high concentration of credit among a few major economic players. In Mali, 35.3%.

In Togo and Benin, the top 50 companies concentrate 37.6% and 34.2% of the economy's credits, respectively, as reported by the BCEAO. Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal have the most moderate concentration rates, at 25.2% and 26.6%, respectively.

At the Union level, an analysis of commitments by maturity shows that short-term credits predominate over medium and long-term ones. As of the end of December 2023, short-term credits granted to the top 50 largest corporate users of bank credits per country accounted for 59%, compared to 41% for medium and long-term credits.

While this concentration highlights various sector dynamics and banking strategies within the region, it also significantly exposes the financial system to crises affecting large enterprises. This is particularly concerning in economies where SMEs, which make up more than 90% of the economic fabric and generate over 80% of the jobs, struggle to secure financing for their growth.

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ECOFIN AGENCY offers a selection of articles translated from AGENCE ECOFIN. Founded in 2011, Agence Ecofin is a leader in Francophone Pan-African economic news, particularly in West and Central Africa. The agency publishes daily news on nine African economic sectors: Public Management, Finance, ICT, Agribusiness, Energy, Mining, Transport & Logistics, Communication, and Training.

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