On 9 August 2018, GroFin Ivory Coast Investment Executive Guillaume Liby and his team attended the launch of a financial and business support initiative by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (also known by its French acronym UEMOA) for SMEs in their member states. It is an initiative which will be implemented by the country branches of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO). The launch took place in Abidjan.
The initiative is the brainchild of the heads of state of UEMOA, which is made up of Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The leaders of these countries understand that SMEs, which in some countries make up on average 90% of private businesses, contribute to job creation, economic and social growth, and stability. However, whilst they play an important social and economic role, it is estimated that 70% of SMEs are unable to access financing. The purpose of this initiative is to address this issue across the region.
The BCEAO recognises the work GroFin has been doing to date in Ivory Coast and its expertise in growing sustainable SMEs. Thus, BCEAO has appointed GroFin as an approved advisor for the provision of business support services to Ivorian SMEs.
The initiative will allow SMEs in the region to get a two-fold support. Firstly, they will receive business support from a BCEAO authorised business advisor (such as GroFin) to help start the process of applying for finance from a bank. The business advisor will assist the SME with the finance application process by putting together a business plan and fulfilling any other requirements from the finance institution. Secondly, if the SME has fulfilled all requirements and received financing, the bank will then go to the country branch of BCEAO for refinancing of the loan at a predetermined point in time. The bank can provide the loan as the SME has been overseen by a competent advisor and the loan itself will be refinanced by the central bank.
Providing finance and business support to SMEs in developing countries is at the core of what GroFin does. Working together with the BCEAO branch in the Ivory Coast for this initiative will allow GroFin to share its knowledge and experience with SMEs across the country.
GroFin is a pioneering private development finance institution specialising in the finance and support of small and medium enterprises.
Since its inception in 2004, GroFin has established a wide network of local offices in 15 countries across Africa and the Middle East covering Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, South Africa, Zambia, Mauritius, Egypt, Oman, Jordan and Iraq.
As at close of 2017, GroFin had undertaken 675 SME investments and sustained 86,191 jobs across healthcare, education, agribusiness, manufacturing, water, energy and waste services, food and accommodation, construction, wholesale and retail, and professional services.