Originally published by Trade Hub Communications
As part of the West Africa Trade Hub’s Strategy on Access to Finance for Women, the project teamed-up with Coris Bank in Côte d’Ivoire to explore the prospects of expanding services to female entrepreneurs. To launch the process, the Trade Hub held a series of listening sessions with bank staff regarding their interests and concerns about expanding lending to female entrepreneurs. Priorities were discussed and a commitment made to pursue a more aggressive outreach strategy to female entrepreneurs across the country.
A strategic level training was designed by the Trade Hub for Coris Bank senior staff to introduce them to global and country-level statistics on female clients, their profiles and constraints to commercial borrowing. A training was held with 10 Coris Bank senior staff creating a platform for bank officials to discuss Côte d’Ivoire’s market demand for financial services. Participants analyzed the bank’s approach to this target group and summarized the opportunities and benefits of targeting female entrepreneurs as clients. The training concluded with a draft gender strategy and action plan for Coris Bank’s three main branches to drive future development of an effective corporate gender strategy.
Together with bank staff, the Trade Hub led a training on October 2 – 4, 2017 for 27 female business owners on financial and business management in Abidjan. Participants included producers, processors and exporters from various sectors, such as shea, cassava, cereals, fruits and vegetables, textiles, apparel and jewelry.
A second set of trainings took place in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire’s second largest city from October 9-11, 2017. The 23 female business owners learned skills in business and financial record keeping, calculating costs, managing cash flow, and developing a business plan. These producers, processors, traders and exporters in the cashew, cotton, mango, cereals and other food crop sectors came from Bouaké, Boundiali, Dabakala, Daloa, Korhogo, and Yamoussoukro.
“The sessions, which were very participatory and interactive, were aimed at giving participants a solid understanding of the financial requirements of their businesses and equipping them with the tools to make strategic use of financial instruments, such as loans and investments,” said Ms. Kafui Djonou, Business Development Specialist at the Trade Hub.
Coris Bank participated in the trainings and engaged participants in discussions about products and services to boost businesses’ operations and growth. Participants, who had expressed concern about the inability of most bank products to meet the needs of agribusinesses, were excited to learn that Coris Bank has developed products that respond to their needs. For example, the bank has a product called Prêt de campagne, which allows borrowers to start repayment after three months, after receiving payments for agricultural products sold after harvest.
“This training was well organized and taught us a lot of things when it comes to managing our businesses’ financing and available bank products,” said Ms. Baikoro Makoya, a foodstuff trader and member of Cooperative Solidarité Marche de Gros Bouaké.
Banyan Global is a subcontractor to Abt Associates on the West Africa Trade Hub Project.