Cameroon: The African Development Bank engages in dialogue with Cameroonian financial institutions to strengthen women entrepreneurs’ access to financing

The African development bank (www.AfDB.org) Managing Director of central Africa, Serge N’Guessanled a delegation for a series of interviews with Cameroonian private sector actors, including women entrepreneurs, between 24 and September 30, 2022 in Douala.

Professional associations and financial institutions that partner with them through the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africainitiative also took part. The aim was to establish a constructive dialogue between women entrepreneurs and financial institutions in Cameroon to catalyze female entrepreneurship in the country.

AFAWA, a flagship initiative of the African development bankworks to strengthen access to finance for women entrepreneurs Africa to fill the $42 billion funding gap they face. The African development bank will mobilize up to $5 billion by 2025 to achieve this.

“It was a very good opportunity because these meetings allowed us to see the blockages that exist between the banks and us, women entrepreneurs”, declared Michèle Kepeden Lewat, General Manager of Business Trade Cameroon SARL. The trading company specializes in the distribution of personal protective equipment to manufacturers and other occupational safety solutions: gas detection and analysis, fire protection, lifting and handling, valves and actuators.

The delegation visited two AFAWA partners in Cameroon: PRO-PME Financement SA, a financial institution specializing in loans to small and medium-sized enterprises, and Ecobanka pan-African bank.

“Beyond guarantees, which are a major constraint for women entrepreneurs, there is a problem of securing funds and keeping financial records, which does not allow financial institutions like ours to properly assess creditworthiness. women entrepreneurs who approach us for a loan,” said Pierre Conrad Edzoa, CEO of PRO-SME Financing SA

For the Ecobank representing, from Cameroon emergence depends on women. The bank has launched a program called Ellevate, which helps women entrepreneurs move from the informal to the formal economy by offering them specific loans depending on the type of business and the conditions guaranteed.

“Before warranty, there is flexible pricing,” said Guy Martin Mbah, Head of Small and Medium Enterprises and Head of Branch Network at Ecobank Cameroon. He said the ordinary loan is normally granted on a 10% interest basis, but women entrepreneurs get a premium. For the application fee, which is usually 1% of the total loan amount, women pay only 0.5%.

“We came to facilitate dialogue between women entrepreneurs and financial institutions. But we are very happy to see that this dialogue already exists, although it is still discreet,” said Charleine Mbuyi-LusambaGender Officer at African development bank. She added that: “The discussions of the past few days have allowed us to embark on the path of a flexible and frank dialogue, capable of creating a real economic dynamic in Douala and in Cameroon. She also announced that a high-level AFAWA mission, led by Esther Marieme Dassanouhead of AFAWA, will soon visit Cameroon strengthen ongoing initiatives.

“We sincerely thank AFAWA because its action effectively targets our needs. We are going to organize ourselves more and equip women entrepreneurs, so that they are up to the position that AFAWA will bring later”, declared Alice Maguedjio, President of the Retailers Union of the department of Wouri, whose capital Douala is.

In CameroonAFAWA is a partner of three financial institutions across the African Guarantee Fund.

Distributed by APO Group behalf African Development Bank Group (ADB).

Media Contact:

Xiaomi Ollo HIEN

Department of Communication and External Relations

[email protected]

About African Development Bank Group:

The African Development Bank Group is the leading development finance institution in Africa. It comprises three distinct entities: the African development bank (ADB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (FNT). Represented in 41 African countries, with a field office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and social progress of its 54 regional member states. For more information: www.AfDB.org

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