Initially, BIO financed regional or local intermediary structures (banks, investment funds, etc.) with a vocation to support SMEs and microfinance institutions.

These indirect investments thus allowed BIO to limits its risks and to benefit from the experience of more mature institutions.
In 2004, it broadened its mission to the direct support of local SMEs in order to compensate for the reluctance of commercial banks which are generally hesitant to finance their activities.

Finally, in 2010, after observing that economic operators not only need funding to develop their activities, but also high-quality equipment, BIO’s scope of activities was widened to include private infrastructure projects.

Today, BIO's strategy focuses
on 3 areas:

1.The financial sector

BIO can support microfinance institutions, commercial banks, non-bank financial institutions, and investment companies and funds. Its investments aim to allow local SMEs to obtain long-term finance.

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BIO can invest directly in local SMEs and large companies with a local foothold, with a particular focus on the food industry in all matters concerning food crops (intended to feed the local population), export cultures and breeding, and companies processing raw food materials.
Moreover, BIO makes a special effort to promote access to basic financial services for micro and small companies (credit, savings and insurance).

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3.Infrastructure projects

BIO can invest in private or public-private partnership projects and more specifically in the field of access to energy and water, telecommunications and transport infrastructure where the main purpose is to support the local private sector.

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The aims of these interventions are based around three key objectives:

  • Optimising the development impact (both qualitative and quantitative)
  • Supporting sustainable projects
  • Additionality (intervening where the need is the greatest), in relation to the market and other DFIs