The World Bank Board of Directors approved yesterday a $300 million credit for the Mozambique Access to Finance and Economic Opportunities Project or Mais Oportunidades project, spanning six years (2023-2029), financed by the International Development Association (*IDA).
“The World Bank will support the Government of Mozambique to address multiple economic shocks and market constraints that prevent micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and individuals, including informal workers, from accessing and using financial services and taking advantage of economic opportunities,” noted Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros, and Seychelles.
The project directly supports the Government of Mozambique’s reform initiative, Pacote de Medidas de Aceleração Económica (PAE), including through the creation of a national Credit Guarantee Fund – the first of its kind in Mozambique – to help mobilize liquidity in the banking system and unlock financing to SMEs, including women-owned firms and those operating in regions or sectors vulnerable to climatic shocks. It will also increase economic opportunities by deepening business environment reforms, expanding market access, and providing training and financing.
The project is expected to help create over 26,000 new jobs over six years. The combination of credit guarantees and lines of credit aims to mobilize up to $450 million in private sector loans to MSMEs across the country through partner financial institutions. In addition, the project will promote financial inclusion by linking members of informal savings groups with formal financial institutions to promote sound resource management and resilience to shocks, particularly for women-owned or led businesses.
Generating enough jobs, particularly green and productive jobs, is a critical challenge for Mozambique. To keep pace with the country's young and rapidly growing population, estimated to reach 50 million by 2040, the economy must create 500,000 jobs every year – 20 times the 25,000 formal jobs currently created annually. The private sector, mainly comprised of informal, low-productivity, and small-scale enterprises, struggles to provide sufficient employment opportunities. This is partly due to structural challenges in accessing finance – particularly credit – which hampers businesses’ growth and development. MSMEs, especially women-owned or led, are acutely exposed to climate and economic shocks exacerbated by limited access to financial products to mitigate these risks.
“The innovative approach to combining a private and financial sector development interventions aims to address key constraints limiting financing for MSMEs in Mozambique and mobilize private capital through the creation of a national Credit Guarantee Fund, which the Ministry of Economy and Finance will establish,” added Julián Casal, World Bank Senior Financial Sector Economist for Mozambique.
The Credit Guarantee Fund will mitigate third-party credit risk to lenders to increase access to credit. Lines of credit will complement the credit guarantees to mobilize private capital and matched savings programs further to link informal savings with formal banks and mobile wallets.
The project is aligned with the World Bank Group Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Mozambique (2023-2027) and with the government's priorities to promote diversified growth and productivity and enhance the skills base to support Mozambique's human capital development. Furthermore, the project will also leverage other World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) operations and investments.
*The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 74 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has provided $496 billion to 114 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $34.7 billion over the last three years (FY20-FY22), with about 70 percent going to Africa.