IFC invests in capital fund to support SMEs in Central America, boost economic resilience

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Central America, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia will have improved access to finance given investment by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. This investment in the Central American Investment Fund for Small and Medium Enterprises (CASEIF IV) is part of IFC's SME Ventures program, which aims to support entrepreneurs and fund managers in the world's most challenging markets.

Photo: IFC

Administered by Lafise Investment Management, the $15 million funding will enable CASEIF IV to provide capital to about a dozen firms in the agribusiness, food and beverage, manufacturing, and telecommunications sectors. At least half of the funds are directed to SMEs and close to 25 percent will focus on companies operating in Nicaragua and Honduras, where the private capital gap is generally wider.

“IFC's participation in this fund is a recognition of our integrity and the impact of our investments on the well-being of countries,” said Erick Lagos, CEO of Lafise Investment Management. He added, “Working with IFC will strengthen the corporate governance, and environmental and social practices of the companies we invest in, raising business standards.”

Earlier, IFC's participation as an investor in the CASEIF III fund allowed the financing of small and medium businesses in their growth stage. In this fourth fund (CASEIF IV), the focus will be on helping SMEs regain dynamism, undergo digital transformation, and revive operations, thus creating stronger and more resilient companies.

Sanaa Abouzaid, IFC Manager for Central America, said, “IFC's investment aims to meet the financing needs of SMEs in the region, which usually find it difficult to access the capital they need to expand their businesses. Further, IFC's support will help enhance market competitiveness, inspiring confidence in investors and drawing investments.”

During fiscal year 2020, IFC invested $120 million in private equity and venture capital funds to support companies in Latin America. In this way, IFC aims to help close the financial gap experienced by SMEs, and help build dynamic companies that create jobs, provide essential goods and services, and contribute to development.

This article was originally published by IFC.