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Johannesburg, South Africa, April 26, 2022—To support the construction of green buildings in South Africa, IFC today announced a financing package for Business Partners Ltd to help fund environmentally friendly industrial and retail sites for the use of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

IFC is providing a 600 million rand ($42 million equivalent) loan package to Business Partners Ltd, a South African non-banking financing entity specialized in providing finance, mentorship, and support programs to SMEs.

Business Partners will use IFC’s loan to finance the construction of certified green commercial buildings in South Africa and/or to renovate existing commercial buildings to make them more environmentally friendly, making them at least 20 percent more energy efficient. Eligible green building certifications will include EDGE, LEED, BREEAM, and Green Star.

IFC will also provide financial incentives to Business Partners to partially offset the costs involved in greening and certifying buildings, based on the company meeting certain green building targets in their portfolio. The incentives will be funded by the IFC-UK Market Accelerator for Green Construction (MAGC) program, which has been funded by the UK Government with the objective to scale up green construction across emerging markets by incentivizing financial intermediaries to develop and introducing new green building construction finance products

“South Africa is one of the world’s most carbon-intensive economies and as a result the country’s green economy has huge market potential. Through investments into the development of green buildings by the SME sector, we believe we will not only be playing our part in preserving our environment but also contributing to much-needed economic growth, job creation and energy security. We are grateful to the IFC for this opportunity to support businesses that make a difference,” said Ben Bierman, Managing Director at Business Partners Ltd.

“Working together with Business Partners Ltd, IFC will contribute to the creation of commercial green buildings and to making available green commercial building finance targeting SMEs in the South African market for the first time,” said Adamou Labara, IFC’s Country Manager for South Africa. “Green building development will support South Africa’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and help the country reduce its use of strained water and electricity resources.”

By developing green buildings, this program contributes to South Africa’s ambitious nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42 percent by 2025 and to decarbonize its electricity sector by 2050.

Conventional buildings account for almost 40 percent of energy-related greenhouse emissions worldwide due to a growing urban population and outdated construction practices. An IFC study estimates that South Africa’s green building demand presents a $7 billion investment opportunity between 2016 and 2030. Although the supply of green buildings in the country is growing, the green building market is still at a nascent stage.

This is IFC’s first loan in South Africa exclusively dedicated to green lending for commercial properties. The investment will be supported by IFC advisory services to help Business Partners Ltd strengthen its green building finance capacity.

About IFC

IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit

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About Business Partners Limited

Business Partners Limited (Business Partners Ltd) is a specialist finance company for formal small and medium owner-managed businesses in South Africa and selected African countries. The company actively supports entrepreneurial growth by providing financing from R500, 000 to R50 million, specialist sectoral knowledge, business premises and added-value services for viable small and medium businesses. Since establishment in 1981, Business Partners Ltd has provided business finance worth over R21,5 billion in over 72 000 transactions facilitating over 671 000 jobs. Business Partners Ltd was named the 2019 Gold winner in the SME Bank of the Year – Africa category at the Global SME Finance Awards. Visit for more information.

About the Author: Mark Paper

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Mark Paper was our Chief Operating Officer responsible for Business Partners International until he retired in 2023. He was with our company for 32 years and during this time supported many SMEs, both in South Africa and selected other African countries namely, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, and Uganda.