WAEMU welcomes first credit bureaus
The facilities should be operational from June 2015.The first credit bureaus will be rolled out this year across the eight countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) has announced.
Global credit information specialist Creditinfo VOLO will be overseeing the establishment of these offices in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
The move comes after the BCEAO and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) signed a cooperation agreement to promote the creation of credit bureaus in the WAEMU in 2013.
BCEAO's general secretary Fatimatou Zahra Diop said at the signing that this initiative is part of several measures being implemented to improve the business climate in the States of the Union.
She noted that few loans are granted in the WAEMU, with bank loans accounting for 21.4 percent of GDP in the EU at the end of 2012, against 36.3 per cent in Nigeria, 103.1 per cent in Morocco and 182.2 per cent in South Africa.
According to Ms Diop, this situation can be explained by the fact that banks are reluctant to lend because of the lack of information on borrowers. They are therefore not able to conduct a proper risk assessment before making a decision.
"The creation of credit bureaus is expected to significantly improve the situation," she said.
Credit bureaus will help collect information on the credit history of borrowers and deliver it to banks as credit reports.
According to the newspaper Jeune Afrique , the system set up by Creditinfo Volo operates on a star network with a hub located in Dakar, at the BCEAO headquarters. It includes antennas in each of the countries of the UEMOA, so that it is possible for the same platform to access credit information for industries within the Member States.
The first bureaus should be operational from June 2015.