U.S. bank Citigroup Inc (C.N) and British International Investment (BII) have signed a $100 million risk-sharing facility intended to provide lending to small businesses across Africa by up to four times that amount, BII said in a statement.
The deal between BII, Britain’s development finance institution, and Citi seeks to help Citi enlarge its supply-chain lending on the continent, focusing on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that often find it hard to acquire financing.
BII said in a statement published on Tuesday:
“The new Master Guarantee risk-sharing agreement will boost Citi’s supply chain finance volumes in Africa by up to $400 million. Under the facility, BII will act as a guarantor for supply chain finance facilities provided by Citi, mitigating the risk involved,” it said.
The two parties will distribute risk on a 50/50 basis, meaning that BII would cover fifty percent of the losses in a situation where a small business defaults on a loan issued by Citi.
The partnership is aimed at allocating capital in local currencies to markets where lending to SMEs is risky because of currency fluctuations and an uncertain business environment. The intention was to focus on Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment and women-owned businesses, boosting productivity and economic inclusion on Africa, BII said.
It added that the program would strive to support SME suppliers who trade with other buyers and want to reduce the wait time for getting paid. A spokesperson stated:
“For example, with SME suppliers who are part of Citi’s supply chain finance, they can discount their receivables on the day of delivery vs. on the invoice due date. This helps to accelerate the working capital to the SME suppliers without the need to wait or borrow additional funding.”