May 22, 2024

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  Financial inclusion benefits everyone. Financial inclusion “facilitates day-to-day living and helps families and businesses plan for everything from long-term goals to unexpected emergencies,” according to the World Bank. Financial inclusion can benefit in the following ways:

  • Reduces poverty and inequality 
  • Promotes economic growth
  • Empower small businesses
  • Support otherwise marginalized demographics 
  • Accelerates innovation 
  • Foster digital inclusion 

The world community has recently been quite concerned about financial inclusion. It is especially true for underdeveloped nations, notably those in sub-Saharan Africa.

Overview of the Financial Sector of Cape Verde

According to Making Finance for Africa, the financial industry in Cape Verde has expanded dramatically in recent years. 

Assets in the banking industry increased by roughly 67% between 2010 and 2016. At the end of 2016, they accounted for USD 2.28 billion, or 139% of the GDP. The banking segment, whose assets comprised 85% of the sector’s total assets in 2017, largely controls the market.

Besides, at 86% of GDP at the time, the financial depth level was higher than the average for West Africa and other island nations on the continent.

Financial Inclusion Through Digitization

Since 2014, financial account ownership has expanded in West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) nations, with mobile money accounts boosting growth and usage.

In the WAEMU, on average, 41% of adults have a bank, financial institution, or mobile money service account.

Over half of individuals who make digital merchant payments throughout WAEMU countries did so for the first time during the COVID-19 crisis, which hastened the development of digital payments in the area. Although cash continues to be the primary method used throughout the region, digital utility payments have shown a rise in adoption.

Banking Sector Promoting Financial Inclusion for All

Transnational banking groups and microfinance institutions in West Africa are transforming the region’s financial structure, improving service quality, boosting competition, and enhancing regulatory frameworks and infrastructure.

There are several banks making strides in West Africa to promote financial inclusion, and iib West Africa, based in Cabo Verde, is outshining the competition.  

It is one of the banks in West Africa working to increase the accessibility of banks to the population at large. Foreign investments are being encouraged, boosting the economy and quality of life.

Key Achievements of iib in West Africa

Since 2021, iib’s leadership team has been actively working to empower Cape Verde’s people by providing top-notch banking services and encouraging better investment and saving decisions. 

Some of the key achievements of iib over the years are as follows:

Recognized as a “Great Place to Work” 

The iib bank in West Africa has been recognized as one of the best places to work in the following areas:

  • For ensuring the physical safety of the workforce.
  • Encouraging fair treatment, regardless of the age of people.
  • Promoting fair treatment, regardless of the gender of employees.
  • For celebrating special events.

The bank was the first organization, let alone a bank in Cape Verde, to do so for two consecutive years.

iib West Africa issues the first Blue Bonds in Cape Verde

In Jan 2023, at the “THE OCEAN RACE MINDELO SUMMIT,” iib announced the launch of Blue Bonds, named “iib Marine and Ocean-Based Blue Bonds” .

The issuance of bonds aims to support structural projects in the Blue Economy and dedicate at least 50,000,000 CVE for growth and financial inclusion, either through direct financing or strategic partnerships supporting small-scale credit access in the sustainable maritime economy.

iib in Cabo Verde Increased its Profits by 77% in 2021

iib closed 2021 with a net profit of over 337.1 million escudos (three million euros). Meanwhile, 2020 and 2019 were completed with profits of 190.3 million escudos (1.7 million euros) and 147.2 million escudos (1.3 million euros), respectively.

The management of iib emphasizes in the report and financial statements that the institution’s solvency and liquidity levels at year’s end were 31% and 441 million escudos (four million euros), respectively. 

This provided “an accommodating positioning of the equity structure,” and the institution ended the year with a 77% increase in net income, “constituting the best result in the institution’s history” in its more than ten years of operation in Cape Verde.

iib West Africa and Angola Stock Exchange Signed a Memorandum

With the public issuance of iib Marine and Ocean-Based Blue Bonds, iib West Africa and the Cape Verde Stock Exchange were invited to participate as speakers at the IV Edition of the BODIVA Forum in Angola by the Angola Debt and Securities Exchange (BODIVA), to exchange experiences in the growth of capital markets and ESG best practices.

A memorandum on development structuring, capital market development, and placement of financial instruments, assuring their market fit, was signed by iib and BODIVA on the sidelines of the Forum.

How Is iib Promoting Financial Inclusion and Fuels Economic Growth in West Africa?

West Africa faces economic challenges due to limited financial inclusion, with thousands of people and small businesses unable to access credit, savings, and necessary financial tools.

The bank’s dedication to financial inclusion is demonstrated through a number of programs, including:

  • Provides digital financial solutions without credit requirements.
  • Facilitates mentorship, capacity-building, and financial solutions to empower MSMEs.
  • Conducts financial education campaigns and workshops to equip individuals with the necessary skills and foster a fiscally responsible culture.
  • Collaborates with government agencies, NGOs, and international organizations to align its financial inclusion initiatives with national and regional development goals.
  • Expanding its branch network and ATM coverage to provide direct banking services to underserved communities.

Conclusion

iib in Cape Verde is promoting financial inclusion in West Africa by offering affordable, accessible services to the unbanked and underserved, empowering individuals and businesses to control their financial well-being despite the stiff competition in the industry.

Through innovative solutions, iib is bridging the gap between traditional banking services and the needs of the local population. It has earned the community’s trust, and its efforts positively impact the region’s economy and society.

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