By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
In an effort to bring more supports to the Liberian banking sector, Guaranty Trust Bank Liberia Limited, otherwise known as GT Bank has signed a 6-year loan agreement of US$7 million with a French financial institution, PROPARCO.
PROPARCO is a development finance institution jointly held by Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) and public and private shareholders from the North and South. Its mission is to catalyze private investment in emerging and developing countries with aim of supporting growth, sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
PROPARCO finances investments are economically viable, socially equitable, environmentally sustainable and financially profitable and is one of the main bilateral development finance institutions in the world. It invests on four continents encompassing the major emerging countries and the poorest countries, particularly in Africa, and has a high level of requirements in terms of social and environmental responsibility.
At the signing ceremony held at the offices of GT Bank in Monrovia, the entity Managing Director, Dan Orogun, told journalists that the signing agreement marks a strategic partnership that has attracted external funding aimed at strengthening the country’s private sector through the financing of medium to long-term investment projects which he believes will have significant impact on the economic growth of Liberia.
With total assets of US$75 million, Mr. Orogun said growing business network and a range of cutting-edge banking products and service, GT Bank Liberia has become a well-trusted brand and is poised to set the standard for banking in Liberia as well as contribute significantly towards the economic development of the country.
The GT Bank boss announced that the loan is for all sectors of the economy but would focus on the long term credits so that individuals would be able to pay.
Mr. Orogun also explained that the systems and structures are already in place at the bank which will assist the institution to supervise all loans repayment.
He indicated that GT Bank started negotiation with PROPARCO about a year ago and as such, he was pleased that the agreement has been signed.
For his part, the Regional Representative of PROPARCO for West Africa, Mr. Julien Lefilleur, told reporters that PROPARCO’s loan will allow GT Bank to finance the development of its credit portfolio and extend the maturity of its financing to Liberian businesses as funding is only available on short term basis.
In a context of economic growth and multiple financing needs, Mr. Lefilleur said it will help boost growth of the country’s private sector and support macro-economic development.
With this first transaction in the banking sector in Liberia, Mr. Lefilleur noted that PROPARCO hopes to play a catalytic role by attracting foreign investors and contributing to supporting the financing needs of the economy.
“This partnership with GT Bank Liberia is all more interesting because it will foster medium and long term credit to corporate and individuals supporting long-term growth,” Julien Lefilleur said.
Mr. Lefilleur added that the loan is given to strengthen the banking sector in order to help the private sector and explained further that PROPARCO usually financed infrastructure energy projects and macro business economy.
GT Bank Liberia was registered on June 7, 2007 and granted a full operational license on March 6, 2009. Its business focus includes institutional investment, commercial and retail banking as well as financial advisory, small to medium and medium to long term capital financing. The bank is a subsidiary of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, one of the foremost banks in Nigeria with subsidiaries in Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, United Kingdom, Cote D’Ivoire, Uganda and Rwanda.