Proparco and Standard Bank South Africa Strengthen their Partnership to Increase Access to Finance for Small Businesses

Proparco and Standard Bank signed two guarantee agreements for €28.5 million in Johannesburg during Proparco’s Deputy CEO, Djalal Khimdjee’s visit to South Africa. The guarantees are in line with the Choose Africa initiative to accelerate the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurship in Africa. Standard Bank will further support job creation for MSMEs in South Africa through these guarantees. The EURIZ guarantee grant has benefited from support from the European Union and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.

As part of Proparco’s Deputy CEO, Djalal Khimdjee’s visit to South Africa, Proparco and Standard Bank signed two new guarantees, strengthening their relationship in South Africa:  

  • An ARIZ ZAR-denominated loan portfolio guarantee (€19.5 million), allowing the bank to sustain its SME lending activities in a challenging post-Covid environment in South Africa.
  • A EURIZ ZAR-denominated loan portfolio guarantee (€9 million) which will focus on the EURIZ eligible sectors- fintech, agriculture, green economy, education and healthcare sectors, as well as women- and youth- owned enterprises, allowing the bank to expand its SME lending activities into high impact sectors.

The two guarantees, which amount to a total of €28.5 million (R332 million), will help finance hundreds of MSMEs and contribute to Choose Africa, the French initiative dedicated specifically to African entrepreneurs, start-ups and MSMEs.

Standard Bank looks to achieve its purpose, and drive Africa’s growth, while making a substantial impact on society; these elements being embedded in their Social, Economic and Environmental (SEE) framework.

Standard Bank’s thinking has been informed by the priority issues and targets contained in the United National Sustainable Development Goals, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, as well as the various national development plans and policies of the countries in Africa in which it operates. This relationship with Proparco embodies this and allows one more way for how Standard Bank delivers on its SEE purpose, targeting developmental sectors, including financial inclusion, health, education, and the green economy.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected the South African economy. In this context, the financial support to MSMEs is a key priority. In the wake of the economic crisis, Standard Bank has committed to supporting its existing MSME clients, as well as the South African MSME sector. Standard Bank was one of the first banks to proactively offer client relief initiatives (payment holidays, instalment reductions, short-term financing) during Covid, and additional salary support to staff of over 3500 small & medium sized businesses through partnering with the South African Future Trust (SAFT).

Standard Bank South Africa is an existing partner of Proparco, having benefited from Proparco’s Unlock Guarantee in 2018, in the context of Standard Bank’s R618 million (USD 44m) senior debt facility to Alten Solar Power (Hardap) Pty Ltd.

Proparco and Standard Bank see significant potential to replicate this transaction in the context of the Group’s multiple African subsidiaries.

We are very glad to expand our partnership with Standard Bank  through this  transaction fully dedicated to SMEs who play a critical role in the economic recovery of the region. Furthermore and thanks to the involvement of the European Commission, we will be able to accompany Standard Bank in its willingness to provide additional financial solutions to specific sectors and profiles of SME (start-ups, youth and women led businesses). This is 100% in line with the objectives of the Choose Africa initiative launched by the French Government”.

“Standard Bank is committed to being more than a provider of financial products and services – we are a catalyst for economic change in our countries of operation. Our vision is to drive Africa’s growth and our Social Economic and Environmental (SEE) strategy aims to embed Social, Economic and Environmental considerations into our lending decisions and business practices in a way that helps us to continue supporting our clients, whilst producing value for society at large. We are excited about signing two new guarantee agreements with Proparco as it provides us the capacity to expand access to finance to South African MSMEs operating in sectors that hold the potential to address the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 and grow the South African economy. This development illustrates our Group’s steadfast commitment to our SEE strategy and ongoing support of South African small enterprises as well as economic growth,” says Lungisa Fuzile, Chief Executive of Standard Bank South Africa.                                                                                                  

These initiatives will contribute to several Sustainable Development Goals, including #3 (Good Health and Well Being), #5 (Gender Equality) and #8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).

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