The partnership is seeking to expand LAPO’s microfinance business to some of the continent’s less developed economies and fragile states. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group. Under the partnership, IFC will conduct market analysis of several African countries, including fragile states, and provide advisory support to LAPO to help it expand its microfinance business beyond Nigeria and Sierra Leone, where it currently operates with more than 495 branches, serving over 800,000 customers.
LAPO’s planned microfinance expansion will help boost financial inclusion and increase lending to individuals and micro and small businesses in the region, stimulating economic activity. The expansion will specifically target women borrowers, low-income earners, and those in rural areas.
Supporting financial inclusion is an important part of IFC’s strategy in Africa to boost private sector growth and job creation. Individuals and businesses, in fragile and conflict-affected situations especially, struggle to access loans and other banking services because of underdeveloped domestic financial sectors.