In July 2015, the U.S and the Ivorian governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate transactions and trade in Cote d’Ivoire.
To support this MoU, the Trade Hub through its Finance and Investment component has been working in collaboration with firms and financial institutions to increase the access of targeted sectors, including SMEs, to banking services, loans and equity, and eliminate barriers to investment projects in Côte d’Ivoire. The project provides technical support through its network of experienced Financial Advisors.
As part of this work, the Trade Hub hosted a Finance and Investment Business-to-Business workshop, on how to “Increase Investment, Reconcile Small and Medium Enterprises with Financial Institutions.” The B2B brought together three financial institutions (Coris Bank, NSIA Banque, Oikocredit) and 23 Ivorian exporting companies specializing in Trade Hub and Côte d’Ivoire National Exportation Strategy (NES) priority areas.
At the event, a panel composed of representatives from Côte d’Ivoire’s financial institutions discussed ways to align banking services with companies’ needs. One banker explained: “The most important factor in the relationships between banks and companies is being able to depend on the integrity of the other side. Most companies are not aware that the process of granting a loan passes through the board of directors, and involves trust on the part of the agent who is dealing with your file.”
Another panelist and business owner underscored the key role that financial advisors play in helping banks assess risks: “Today, we have a tool to remove these barriers, which is the financial advisors,” said Bakayoyo Mohamed Lamine, Founder and Director of AVVA, a coffee roasting company.
Participants in the B2B event explained how this event had provided them with valuable information that could help them access finance: “We had the opportunity to meet with financial institutions, but also with financial facilitators who will help us to organize the presentation of our companies, in order to access financing,” said Fadika Lancine, Associate Manager at Food Services SARL, a cattle farming, butchery and roasting company. We are very hopeful!” he added.