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The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, has formally launched Africalease, a new association to promote leasing in sub-Saharan Africa.

Also known as the African Leasing Association, the association was launched at a major leasing conference in Accra, Ghana, organised by IFC and SECO, the Swiss state secretariat for economic affairs.

The conference brought together regional leasing investors and experts to promote and discuss Africa’s potential $80 billion leasing market.

Alejandro Alvarez de la Campa, practice manager for World Bank Group’s finance, competitiveness, and innovation global practice, said: “Leasing is helping transform the ability of Africa’s smaller businesses to acquire the use of equipment for economic activities.

Working in 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, IFC’s Africa Leasing Facility has helped mobilise $257 million in investments into the regional leasing sector, and delivered leasing training to about 24,000 people, including government officials, financial institutions, and small business owners.

Smaller businesses employ about 60% of those with jobs in emerging economies but many are held back by a lack of access to finance.

Abdallah Benhamida, president of Africalease, said: "The regional equipment leasing market is ripe for investment, particularly in the agriculture, infrastructure, medical equipment and renewable energy sectors.

“Africalease will endeavour, as much as possible, to build a cohesive network to help unlock the region's $80 billion potential."

IFC also launched the first Africa Equipment Leasing Handbook at the Accra event.

The handbook estimates that sub-Saharan Africa’s current equipment leasing market stands at $40 billion – and expects it to at least double in size.

IFC is a sister organisation of the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group, the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.

It works with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using its capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the emerging markets.

During 2017, it delivered $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries.