Businesses in South Africa are struggling following the disruption of regional and global activities across the tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, and other sectors due to the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the light of this, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is working with financial institutions in South Africa to create increased access to funds for SMEs, which play a critical role job creation.

IFC recently supported the Standard Bank of South Africa (SBSA) with a $185 million loan to help the bank expand its COVID-19 lending program to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and corporates affected by the pandemic.

The loan will help eligible SBSA clients to finance immediate COVID-19 relief and long-term investments, including the purchase and production of goods and services needed to cope with the effects of the pandemic and lockdown in South Africa.

Lungisa Fuzile, CEO of SBSA, said, “We take our responsibility as a corporate citizen seriously and value the ongoing collaboration with IFC. This transaction reflects Standard Bank’s commitment to supporting our clients through this pandemic.”

Adamou Labara, IFC’s Country Manager for South Africa, said, “This is an unprecedented crisis, with devastating health, economic and social consequences. Our experience from past shocks has taught us that keeping companies solvent is key to saving jobs and limiting the economic damage. That’s why it’s critical to work with institutions like Standard Bank to help companies access finance that will enable them to continue to operate during this time.”