Discover the successful journey of iib Cabo Verde from a small subsidiary to becoming one of the reference banking institutions in the archipelago.


The international investment bank, SA began its activity in the Cape Verdean market in July 2010 as a financial subsidiary entity wholly owned by Novo Banco (NB). In 2018, as part of its acquisition strategy, iibGroup acquired 90% of BICV’s capital, maintaining NB as a reference shareholder.

A year later, iib Cabo Verde (iibCV) was ‘born’ with very clear objectives: to contribute to the development of the local financial sector, importing the industry’s best practices into the country, in order to compete not only locally, but globally . This initiative was seen as a way of giving back to society, working closely with local communities, empowering them and providing better opportunities, in line with the Group’s philosophy: “Transforming Lives.”

Route and Recognition

In 2019, iibCV was one of the smallest financial institutions in Cape Verde and had accumulated losses from previous years. In 2020, it reformulated its organic structure, market positioning and business model. Through an open and participatory governance model, iib employees created the “6 months / 6 causes” program in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, through which they supported important social initiatives for the community in partnership with deservingly selected institutions. In 2021, iib formalized its Social Responsibility Policy, carrying out actions such as blood donation campaigns, Solidarity Christmas events and granting merit scholarships to students. Furthermore, it has committed to valuing its Human Capital with an intensive training program and variable remuneration structures. With new management, highly qualified and experienced in different markets, iibCV has become a more dynamic and agile organization, becoming the third largest bank by assets, the most solvent and with the lowest default ratio in its credit portfolio in 2021.
In 2022, iibCV recorded significant growth in its balance sheet, without significantly increasing risk-weighted assets, and significantly improved its profitability. Its assets grew by 22.5%, exceeding 333 million euros, customer resources grew by 20%, reaching almost 162 million, and equity grew by 25.3%, reaching 20.3 million. For 2023, the bank is expected to continue to grow and surpass the previous year’s results, achieving the best historical performance for the third consecutive year. In addition to the financial results, the Central Bank of Cape Verde (BCV) highlighted that iibCV received no complaints from financial consumers in 2022, which is a source of pride for the management team and everyone who works at the bank. iibCV has a physical presence on the islands of Santiago, São Vicente and Sal, employs around 50 employees and has received awards and certifications for the work carried out in Cape Verde, including certification as a “Great Place to Work” for the second consecutive year, the various awards awarded by the Cape Verde Stock Exchange for performance in the capital market and the recent certification, awarded by an independent international entity, in accordance with the ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management standard.

Absa Africa Financial Market Index 2023

Cape Verde reached 16th position in the Absa African Financial Markets Index, among 28 African nations, marking the first inclusion in the country’s history. The report highlights the successful issuance of “iib Marine and Ocean-based Blue Bonds” by iibCV, in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Joint SDG Fund. This public issue achieved demand equivalent to 150% of supply, with more than 20% of subscriptions coming from non-residents, including Angola, Uganda, Portugal, France, Luxembourg, Italy, USA and Switzerland. iibCV’s commitment to innovation and active contribution to elevating Cape Verde’s position in global financial markets is recognized in this report.

Commitment to Society and Sustainability

iibCV has worked and continues to work with various stakeholders, having established partnerships with educational institutions, hospitals and NGOs in Cape Verde. Last year it issued Social Bonds in cooperation with SOS Children’s Villages and, in 2023, it issued the first Blue Bonds in Cape Verde (iib Marine and Ocean-Based Blue Bonds), highlighting the commitment to valuing the Sea and Oceans in the country . In the last three years, the social responsibility programs implemented by iibCV have impacted more than 50 thousand people. Recently, iibCV joined the United Nations Global Compact, a voluntary platform for responsible business practices, aligning its operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, with more than 15,000 companies and 3,800 non-business signatories from more than 160 countries and more than 69 Local Networks.

In this exclusive interview, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Investment Bank (iib), Sohail Sultan, talks about how the focus is to continue to grow the African franchise, because he believes that there are huge opportunities to build a regional financial institution focused on facilitating and financing regional trade. As for Cape Verde and operations in West Africa, the emphasis on the future will increasingly be to try to position the institution to capture, support and manage many of these regional financial transactional flows.

Being the only finalist who has a physical presence in Cape Verde, do you consider this an advantage?

“It is clear that the fact that we are present in Cape Verde gives us an advantage. We know and understand the market, culture and people. We have been working closely with the Government and the Central Bank of the country and value the relationships we have built and cultivated over the years in Cape Verde. We have a good and solid track record in the market and all the main players know that we have acquired an institution that was ranked in the eighth position and that, under our leadership, is, today, the third most important bank in Cape Verde.”

What are the main challenges they anticipate in relation to this acquisition and how do you expect to overcome them?

“In any acquisition, one of the main challenges is the smooth transition of ownership. Having already gone through this process in Cape Verde, we are in a unique position to take on this challenge, while waiting for the unexpected and without complacency. As always, we are available to respond to any concerns that regulators may have because integrity and transparency are values that we do not give up throughout the process. The two most important components of this process are the people who work at the institution and the clients we will continue to serve.”

“The banking sector continues to go through a challenging time, but, as a small group, we continue to grow reasonably well, especially given the complexities of the markets in which we operate.”

What brings you to Portugal?
“Our interest in Portugal resulted from the basic strategy we intend to pursue, that of creating a bank focused on emerging markets. For us, the emerging markets are East Africa, the Ethiopia-Djibouti trade corridor, West Africa, mainly Portuguese-speaking African countries, the Middle East, specifically the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] and South Asia.”
 What is your strategy?
“We have a two-pronged strategy. We want to continue to grow the group organically and also inorganically through acquisitions. Organic growth is occurring as part of our continued development and growth in the markets we cover from a banking perspective (West Africa, East Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East).”

iib has been certified as a Great Place to Work® in Bahrain. After conducting a survey among colleagues, iib ranked extremely high on all parameters, from workplace culture to collaboration, from open-door policy to teamwork and

iib ranked iib ranked 100% on the following:
• This is a physically safe place to work.
• People here are treated fairly regardless of their gender.
• Taking everything into account, I would say this is a great place to work.
• People here are treated fairly regardless of their age.
• People celebrate special events around here.

Speaking on the occasion, CEO Sohail Sultan said, We are committed to continuing this extremely positive trend and creating an exemplary environment for all our colleagues. I want to express my appreciation and thanks for your contributions. Let’s celebrate this achievement together and continue to uphold our values as we move forward. It is an honor to lead such a remarkable group of individuals.

iib congratulations the entire team on this tremendous milestone.

About Great Place To Work®
Great Place To Work ® ( is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programs, Great Place To Work ® recognizes the Best Workplaces™ across the world in a series of national lists including those published by Fortune magazine (USA) and in leading media across the Middle East. Great Place To Work ® provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures.

With the public issuance of iib Marine and Ocean-Based Blue Bonds, which took place last January at the event “THE OCEAN RACE MINDELO SUMMIT”, the International Investment bank (iib West Africa) with the Cape Verde Stock Exchange, were invited by the Angola Debt and Securities Exchange (BODIVA) to participate as speakers at the IV Edition of the BODIVA Forum in Angola, aiming to share experiences in capital market development and ESG best practices.

On the sidelines of the Forum, iib and BODIVA signed a memorandum focusing on capital market development, development structuring and placement of financial instruments, ensuring their market suitability.

They also undertook to ensure contacts between the two institutions, given the mutual interests in developing Human Capital, by sharing knowledge and promoting education and financial literacy.

“Working in partnership with the Government will allow us to fullfil the need for better infrastructure through strategic development.”

Sohail Sultan, CEO

The iib Blue Bonds, called “iib Marine and Ocean-Based Blue Bonds”, whose broadcast was announced at the “THE OCEAN RACE MINDELO SUMMIT” event, which featured the participation of distinguished personalities such as the Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Antonio Guterres, the Prime Minister of Portugal, Dr. Antonio Costa and the Prime Minister of Cabo Verde, Dr. Ulisses Correio and Silva constitute the first emission of this nature in Cabo Verde , representing a decisive milestone in the process of valuing the Sea and Oceans in the country.

The issuance of these bonds aims to make it possible for the development of structural projects in the area of the Blue Economy, as well as dedicating a minimum of 50,000,000 CVE to the development and financial inclusion in the same sector, made possible through direct financing or through the identification and development of innovative strategic partnerships designed to support access to small-scale credit to individuals and small businesses in the sustainable maritime and fisheries sectors.

The launch event, which took place at 18:00 last January 23,2023, in the port of Mindelo, aboard the tall ship OOSTERSCHELDE docked, was chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Olavo Correia, and was attended by the Ministers of the Sea and Minister of Culture and from Creative Industries, Tourism, Transport, and Agriculture.

The profits of iib Cabo Verde, a bank led by the iib group in Bahrain and held in 10% by the Portuguese Novo Banco, increased by 77%in 2021, to three million euros, the best result in the institution’s history.

The information is contained in the 2021 report and accounts of the International Investment Bank Cabo Verde (iibCV), which provides for the application of this result only in legal reserves (10%) and other reserves (90%), without distributing dividends, as had already happened in 2019 and 2020 to prevent economic repercussions from the covid-19 pandemic.

iibCV closed 2021 with a net profit of over 337.1 million escudos (three million euros).This performance compares with profits of 190.3 million escudos (1.7 million euros) in 2020 and 147.2 million escudos (1.3 million euros) in 2019.

In the report and accounts, the management of iibCV underlines that solvency and liquidity levels stood at 31% at the end of 2021 and 441 million escudos (four million euros), respectively, providing “an accommodative positioning of the equity structure”, ending the year with a 77% growth in net income, “constituting the best result in the history of the institution”, in more than ten years of activity in Cape Verde.

To “win the moment”, still marked by the economic crisis caused by the pandemic in 2021, the administration underlines that it remained “faithful to the execution of the fundamental variables” of the strategic plan, “which resulted in a balance sheet growth by 53% [to 30 billion escudos, 270.5 million euros],through more efficient and diversified sources of funding, enabling an asset structure with a superior risk-weighted return”.

This management, he adds, was also reflected in the increase in banking income by 41%, to 725.4 million escudos (almost 6.6 million euros), given the “increase in net interest income by 12% and in the complementary margin by 301%”.

“With regard to the loan portfolio, it is important to highlight the proactive management of the portfolio, which enabled differentiated monitoring of customers, a determining factor in the recovery of non-performing loans (NPLs), whose proportionality was fixed at 1.49%”, he says. up in the report and accounts.

The bank’s global loan portfolio grew by 1% in 2021, to almost 5.5 billion escudos (49.6 million euros). The non-performing loan portfolio (over 90 days) thus totaled around 80.7 million escudos (730 thousand euros).

The bank closed 2021 with positive equity of 1,789 million escudos (16.1 million euros)and total assets of over 30 billion escudos (270.5 million euros), for liabilities of 28.2 billion escudos (254.4 million euros), practically half corresponding to customer deposits.

Customer resources, in deposits, registered a year-on-year growth of 5%, to almost 14.9 billion escudos (134.4 million euros). The iibCV, until 2019 called Banco Internacional de Cabo Verde (BICV) and formerly Banco Espírito Santo Cabo Verde, started its activity in July 2010and until mid-2018 it was fully owned by Novo Banco de Portugal.

On 11 July 2018, after approval by the supervisory bodies, 90% of the shares representing the share capital were acquired by iib Group Holdings WLL (iibGroup), based in the Kingdom of Bahrain, which aims to acquire and manage banking assets in the Middle East and Africa. The rebranding from BICV to iibCV was only completed in mid-2019, with Novo Banco (through Novo Banco África) remaining part of the shareholder structure, with a minority stake of 10%.

With a share capital of 1,433 million escudos (13 million euros), iibCV currently has a physical presence on the islands of Santiago and Sal and has around 40 employees.

“Despite the pandemic, we remained faithful to the execution of the fundamental variables of the strategic plan.”

Francisco Ferreira, CEO iib Cabo Verde

Working with Sounah-Alhaya and other charitable organisations, iib Djibouti reached out to the community to help ease the burden off Eid-ul-Adha. Activities were centered around the distribution of food bags to needy families to help with the sentiment of feasting after fasting. Children clothing was also distributed and a party was held for the children to celebrate the occasion. iib also made a donation to special need school for children.