In Côte d’Ivoire, two financial institutions coached in lending practices for smaller agribusinesses

USAID Côte d’Ivoire County Representative, Mr. Jeff Bryan opened the Trade Hub’s Finance and Investment training, and called on the partner financial institutions to work closely with the Trade Hub to unlock financing to agribusinesses. Photo credit: Ms. Jessie Lafourcade

Ivorian bank officials learned risk management strategies for agribusinesses and how to better negotiate with loan applicants during a Trade Hub coaching mission in three cities, January 27-February 3. The training for Coris Bank and Oikocredit  agents followed a 2016 agreement between the two banks and USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA) to expand loan opportunities for smaller West African agribusinesses—as well as a 2016 technical assistance agreement with the Trade Hub to improve the banks’ institutional knowledge of agricultural value chains.

The practical training modules on access to finance for businesses in the Hub’s value chains were developed and delivered by the Trade Hub’s Finance and Investment team lead, Mr.  Jean-Francois Guay, and international finance consultant Mr. Gerard Mariotte. Participants learned about different agribusiness value chains, the risks involved in awarding agribusiness loans, and how to structure financing mechanisms—all information that financial advisors need to build a company’s risk profile and reject or approve loan applications.

The Trade Hub and Mr. Mariotte led practical coaching sessions with Coris Bank’s agriculture and microfinance unit and branch managers from San Pedro and Soubre, in southeast Côte d’Ivoire. These sessions analyzed the financing needs of three cocoa processing companies in San Pedro, three groups of cocoa producers in Soubre, and an egg-producing farm.

“These visits were very interesting. Even if the cocoa sector is very concentrated, the room is still large for new export companies, processors and producer associations,” Mr. Mariotte said.

Earlier that week, the Trade Hub and Coris Bank co-hosted a two-day training in Abidjan for 31 participants from both partner institutions. It was opened by heads of both institutions and USAID’s representative in Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. Jeff Bryan, and attended by Burkina Faso’s Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, H.E. Mahamadou Zongo..

“West Africa recorded a significant growth rate of 5% in the last three years,” Mr. Bryan said. “Companies were created, and need your financial support to improve their production tools, add other services, and pursue their development in new marketplaces.”

In December 2016, the Trade Hub provided similar training to Coris Bank staff in Burkina Faso, including a coaching mission in the town of Banfora. Upcoming trainings will be held in Mali, Niger and Senegal.

With the DCA, which covers 50% of banks’ capital risk, Coris Bank and Oikocredit plan to expand lending opportunities within agricultural businesses, with which they’re often unfamiliar. These trainings carry out the Trade Hub’s commitment to help Coris Bank and Oikocredit facilitate $20 M in financing for smaller agribusinesses throughout West Africa.

Concurrently, the Trade Hub also works through a network of more than 30 Financial Advisors across West Africa to assist small and medium-sized exporters and processors to obtaining loans and/or equity investments. Since 2015, the project has facilitated 50 loans worth a total of $29 M through local financial institutions, impact lenders and investment firms—catalyzing trade growth, jobs creation and investments in the West African region.

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West Africa Trade and Investment Hub - Accra, Ghana - contact@watradehub.com
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