Readying financial access program for small women-owned businesses in Côte d’Ivoire

Trade Hub’s Business Development Specialist Ms. Kafui Djonou in discussions with officials of Oxygene Vie, a non-governmental organization that works with women’s associations in Northern Côte d’Ivoire.

The Trade Hub’s finance and investment specialists held a series of meetings from January 30 to February 3 with prospective beneficiaries of the Trade Hub’s Gender Access to Finance Strategy, soon to be rolled out in Côte d’Ivoire.

Business Development Services Specialist Ms. Kafui Djonou, Finance and Investment Specialist Mr. Charles Adegnandjou and a local consultant for the project collected data to prepare client briefs for financial institutions that have partnered with the Hub.

“In addition to helping the Hub’s financial partners structure appropriate loan products for women’s owned businesses, the client brief will also be used to ensure the ‘buy-in’ of other key partner

financial institutions,” Ms. Djonou said.

In total, nine women-owned businesses—including cooperatives working in cereals, tropical fruits, shea, cassava and apparel—met with the Hub team to discuss their operations and financing needs.

Most of these businesses, though seemingly profitable, were operating without employing basic business management skills and bookkeeping tools. The Hub’s strategy seeks to bridge this gap between credit supply and demand for women-owned small and medium enterprises. In 2016, the Hub launched the strategy in Burkina Faso, generating nearly $300,000 in loans for 21 women-owned businesses.

“With this supply-side strategy—having partner financial institutions incorporate a gender plan in their core lending activities—we expect a more sustainable operation of the program and bigger impact on more women-owned businesses than the demand-side strategy piloted in Burkina Faso,” Ms. Djonou said.

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