IFC, a global development organization, has announced an investment in Wave Mobile Money S.A. (Senegal) and Wave Côte d’Ivoire S.A., mobile money companies that are assisting with lowering pricing and extending services in the region. This investment aims to promote financial inclusion and boost economic growth in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire.
With the support of financing from IFC and other lenders, Wave will be able to significantly expand its operations in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, broaden its product line, and increase the number of people who use its high-quality payment services and mobile money accounts.
IFC arranged a €90 million financing package, which included a €25 million loan from IFC’s own account, B Loans from Symbiotics, Blue Orchard, responsAbility, and Lendable totaling €41 million, parallel loans from Finnfund and Norfund of €24 million, and other loans totaling €90 million.
According to Coura Sene, regional director for Wave Mobile Money in the West African Economic and Monetary Union, “Wave’s aim of making Africa the first cashless continent, by providing inexpensive and user-centric solutions, fits IFC’s ambitions of universal financial inclusion” (WAEMU). The IFC and other lenders’ support “helps us offer a choice of financial products, encouraging customers to remain within the formal banking sector, improving financial inclusion in the region.”
Aliou Maiga, IFC’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, declared that assisting low-income, unbanked populations in gaining access to financial services was a top goal for the organization. In addition to supporting inclusive finance, “our investment in Wave will greatly enhance digital economy solutions in West Africa.”
In response to the COVID-19 problem and other factors, IFC’s relationship with Wave will aid West Africa’s growing need for mobile money and digital payments. With only 24% of active mobile money accounts in the region as of 2020 compared to 34% in East Africa, access to digital financial services is still scarce in the area.