In an extremely difficult context, during the mid-90's, the General Bank of Mauritania for Investments and Trade was created upon Mr. Mohamed BOUAMATOU's initiative and with the support of a Belgian bank, LA BELGOLAISE, which was the subsidiary for Africa of the renown GENERALE DE BANQUE, and that participated with up to 30% in its capital.
In a short span of time, GBM managed to develop a business banking profile, attracting local companies that found the ideal partner in it. At the same time, GBM was able to earn the trust of international donors such as the ADB (African Development Bank), the EIB (European Investment Bank) and the IFC (International Finance Corporation), a subsidiary of the World Bank.
Subsequently, GBM has become the most profitable bank in the BELGOLAISE network and has obtained substantial loans from IFC, which has also taken a 5% stake in GBM's capital.
In the early 2000s, GBM topped the rankings of local banks in terms of equity capital, becoming the best performing bank in the country.
Ever since its creation in 1995, GBM has been a key element in shaping the economic and financial landscape of the country. Without being exhaustive, below are a few milestones:
PROMINENT SUPPORT FOR NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL POLICIES
- General Bank of Mauritania (GBM) has played a key role in stabilizing the economy by financing SONIMEX's import operations, thereby ensuring the continued availability of essential products at reasonable prices. It has also allowed the company's private shareholders to protect their interests. Their letter of gratitude, dated June 6, 2006, is an irrefutable proof of this accomplishment.
- In terms of energy, and thanks to an AFREXIMBANK line, GBM was able to provide US$40 million in funding to build a power plant in Nouakchott, at a critical time for the country and for SOMELEC.
- Once again, GBM came to the rescue of this company, while no bank dared to confirm credits for the financing of its needs, due to uncertainties that hovered over the country at that time. Thus, in his letter No. DFC-FA/NB/373, dated April 30, 2008, the General Manager of SOMELEC, Mohamed SALECK OULD HEYINE, expressed his gratitude and thanks to the CEO of GBM, Mr. BOUAMATOU.
- Along the same line, at a time when Mauritania could not ensure 3 months of its imports, it was the GBM president who negotiated and obtained a US$50 million line of financing for oil and gas imports from AFRICAN MERCHANT BANK (AMB) in PARIS.
- Support to the Mining Sector: 1999 marks a year when the SNIM went through a particularly difficult period, due to the slump in the iron market; therefore, GBM proposed and signed an agreement with the SNIM on February 28, 1999, renewed in 2002, under which the bank covers the SNIM and its 7 subsidiaries' needs in terms of transfers, opening of letters of credit, and regular and immediate supply of banknotes (foreign currencies) and traveler's checks.
- Then, in 2002, when SNIM informed GBM of the difficulties related to an unfavorable international context, the bank, in an exceptional show of solidarity, suspended all invoicing of commissions on the contract during the whole year. Mohamed SALECK OULD HEYINE, SNIM's General Manager, in his farewell letter addressed to GBM on September 30, 2005, expressed "his warm thanks for the availability and the fruitful collaboration which enabled SNIM to carry out its projects and to record highly satisfactory results".
- Infrastructures & roads : Another large company, going through serious distress, ATTM Ltd received a special treatment from GBM for cash credits and external operations (guarantees, documentary credits). In his letter No. N300/031/2004, dated June 22, 2004, the General Manager of ATTM Ltd, Yahya OULD HADEMINE, expressed "his satisfaction for the quality of services rendered". The General Manager continued: "Moreover, the legal advice and the prompt realization of external operations (guarantees abroad, documentary credit, ...) are highly appreciated for developing ATTM's export activities".
- In the fisheries sector, it should be recalled that the GBM is the leading sponsor of the sector, particularly of its artisanal chain with high socio-economic value. Before the 2012 crisis, GBM held 30% of the sector's market share.
- GBM has been responsible for setting up several fish processing units in Nouadhibou; it has accompanied the sector in the most critical periods.
Consider, for example:
- During the 1998 crisis in the sector, when the entire fleet stopped due to a lack of funds for access to the resource, GBM issued a guarantee to all the fishing companies to the public treasury, including those domiciled in other banks, thus allowing the crisis to pass smoothly.
- In 2008, during the crisis arising from poor fish sales, and at the request of the ad hoc inter-ministerial committee, GBM granted SMCP a loan at a preferential rate, enabling it to make advances on production to fisheries producers who were unable to pay, thus saving the sector.
- At the social level, it is worth remembering the eminently decisive role that Mr. BOUAMATOU, GBM CEO, then President of the Patronat, played in securing the salary negotiations with the Trade Union Centers (February 2005). Once again, Mr. BOUAMATOU was congratulated by SNIM's Managing Director, Mr. Mohamed SALECK OULD HEYINE, by letter No. 030, Nouadhibou, February 3, 2005.
MOMENTUM OF REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY
At this stage, emphasis should be placed on the scope of GBM's community solidarity in favor of the OMVS SOGEM Company. This support was welcomed by the OMVS Council of Ministers, meeting in its 51st Extraordinary Session in Bamako (letter of gratitude dated October 2, 2009) and by the SOGEM General Manager, (letter of gratitude No. 898/DG/SOGEM dated November 18, 2009), for the significant support extended to SOGEM, which was then experiencing serious financial difficulties.
In a letter addressed to Mr. BOUAMATOU, GBM CEO at the time, Mr. Saloum CISSE wrote: "Please find attached a copy of the solemn letter of gratitude addressed to you by the OMVS Council of Ministers for your exceptional contribution, enabling us to clear SOMELEC's and SENELEC's arrears of more than 25 billion CFA francs in record time”.
Later on, he goes on to say: "The financial recovery achieved by SOGEM, thanks to your personal intervention, which was highly appreciated by the Council of Ministers under the express request of its President, Mr. Samuel Amète SARR, Minister of Energy in the Republic of Senegal, has led SOGEM to lift the restrictions imposed by the donors, and to complete funding the FELOU Hydroelectric Power Plant and the laying of the foundation stone on October 30, 2009, by the OMVS Heads of State”.
Thanks to the dynamism of the man who founded it and the team he surrounded himself with, GBM has been able to weave a large network of correspondents throughout the world.
As a result, the Bank enjoys the confidence of partners such as NATIXIS, BRED BANQUE POPULAIRE, CITIBANK, COMMERZBANK, BMCE BANQUE INTERNATIONALE, Banque Cantonale de Genève (BCGE), BACB, ODDO-BHF, CAIXABANK, AFREXIMBANK, ECOBANK, UBAF, BMICE, without forgetting the Société Financiere Internationale (SFI), which placed at the Bank's disposal a wide range of confirmation lines to the great delight of its importing clients.
The values of Professionalism, Competence, Availability, Integrity, Loyalty, Humility, constantly maintained by GBM, together with the ambition to always be the best bank in the country, contribute to making GBM the reference bank in Mauritania for all businesses.
Backed by its staff of young and competent professionals, headed by the Managing Director Dr. Leila BOUAMATOU, GBM continues nowadays to achieve outstanding performances by bringing its expertise to the service of its customers and to funding the Mauritanian economy in all its sectors.