Liberia is recovering from a civil war, which devastated the country and decimated the lending operations of domestic commercial banks. Banks lending in the agriculture, energy, and other sectors are risk averse and combined with a lack of capacity, especially in rural areas and in non-traditional sectors like renewable energy, has shaped an inhospitable credit environment. Additionally, there is low capacity among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) borrowers and potential borrowers who often lack financial literacy, collateral, documented credit/cash flow history, and market credibility. The resulting lack of credit in the seven sectors poses a significant constraint to growth and overall economic development.
The Liberia Investing for Business Expansion (IBEX) program focuses on improving Liberia’s lending environment in seven sectors (agriculture, renewable energy, infrastructure, construction, general merchandise, transportation, and hospitality chains) through improved risk management and outreach designed to reduce risk and cost associated with lending in these sectors. Coupled with technical assistance provided by IBEX staff and volunteer technical experts to partner banks and borrowers, this encourages lending to borrowers in the targeted sectors, with a specific focus on SMEs.