Rabobank Consortium Acquires Interest in Tanzanian Bank

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Tanzanian government announced that it has selected a consortium, led by Rabobank, as the winner in a tender for the purchase of the National Microfinance Bank (NMB). The purchase means that Rabobank, together with its partners, will acquire 49% of the shares in NMB. The agreement also stipulates that, following the share transfer, Rabobank will provide management and technical assistance for the further development of NMB, one of the largest banking institutions in Tanzania. In addition, Rabobank will provide the bank’s management team for the coming years. Currently, NMB predominantly provides infrastructure for payments and offers savings products. The bank has recently begun offering credit products mainly in form of micro-loans. On September 30th, the official signing with Rabobank will take place in Tanzania.

By making funds and knowledge available, Rabobank seeks to enable the Tanzanian bank to achieve further development, particularly in relation to providing services in rural areas and optimising its nationwide outreach. The financial partnership is intended to signal the start of a long-term relationship between Rabobank and rural development in Tanzania, a developing country. Within the context of this relationship, Rabobank will export its original successful formula of providing people with access to financial services as a vehicle for stimulating economic development. A technical assistance project has been planned for the first three years. This programme will include providing NMB’s key employees with additional training in the Netherlands and an introduction to Rabobank. Further, Rabobank specialists in various areas will deploy their expertise in Tanzania in the years ahead.

The Tanzanian government, which until now has been the only shareholder in NMB, sought to privatise NMB in order to maximise the outreach and scope of services of the financial sector in Tanzania. Rabobank led an investor consortium that includes three Tanzanian partners: Eximbank, the National Investment Company Limited (NICO) and the Tanzania Chambers of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture (TCCIA). NMB is the only bank in Tanzania that has an extensive national network comprising more than 100 branch offices. At the end of 2004, NMB had a balance sheet total of USD 570 million and 1,400 employees. Tanzania has a total population of 36 million people, 30 million of whom live in rural areas.

Four billion people around the globe currently do not have access to financial services. As a socially responsible and committed co-operative bank, Rabobank sees it as its mission to combat this deficiency, with a primary focus on the rural areas of developing countries. Rabobank has been actively supporting the development of smaller credit co-operatives for many years. Within the framework of the Rabobank Development Program, Rabobank is now also dedicating its resources to the development of nationwide rural banks. The ultimate aim is to develop rural banks in fifteen developing countries. The program was launched in the beginning of 2005 with an initial capital of 25 million euros. It focuses on banks that have a predominantly rural presence, proven long-term viability and directors that are highly ambitious.

Source: Press Release (link opens in a new window)