ACCRA– The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group which focuss on the development of the private sector in developing nations, has launched Africalesase, an association which aims to promote leasing across sub-Saharan Africa.

Africalease, which was launched here Thursday, will help small businesses from the transport, farming and retailing sectors obtain the financing they need to grow and create jobs. The launch event, which was organized by the IFC and Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), brught together regional leasing investors and experts to promote and discuss Africa’s potential 80 billion US dollars leasing market.

The IFC also unveiled the first Africa Equipment Leasing Handbook at the event. The handbook estimates that sub-Saharan Africa’s current equipment leasing market stands at 40 billion USD and expects it to at least double in size.

Alejandro Alvarez de la Campa, Practice Manager for the World Bank Group’s Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation global practice, said leasing continued to help transform the ability of Africa’s smaller businesses 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 USD in investments into the regional leasing sector, and delivered leasing training to about 24,000 people, including; the government official, financial institutions, and small business owners”.

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

He said Africalease would endeavour to build a cohesive network to help unlock the region’s potential, adding that smaller businesses employed about 60 per cent of those with jobs in emerging economies but many were held back by a lack of access to finance.