Blue Financial Service, the Botswana Stock Exchange and JSE listed micro-financier, said Tuesday that it had signed a US $15 million debt facility with OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) that will give it the fire-power to penetrate unbanked African communities.
“Blue places a special focus on the under-banked communities across the African continent,” commented Eune Engelbrecht, Corporate Finance Executive at Blue. “We provide much needed financial services to those who are unable to receive it anywhere else. In addition, the sourcing of international wholesale funding at affordable rates is equally important to enable our clients to borrow at sustainable rates.”
He continued: “The facility from OFID has a seven-year tenure and will be hedged against foreign exchange rate fluctuations. Funds are earmarked for lending activities in most of the 13 countries of operation, specifically concentrating on loans for small businesses and home improvement or housing finance.
“The OFID facility comes at a time when most micro-financiers are struggling to raise funds due to the economic downturn. Blue understands that the distribution of these funds must be well calculated and controlled, especially under the current market conditions.”
The OFID facility follows on the recently announced ZAR 130 million transaction concluded with Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, the Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij Voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO).
This also brings the capital the Group has raised this year to over half a billion rand.
Blue has operations in Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia.
The company expects to release its financial results for the year ended 28 February 2009 sometime next week.