Women Traders in Côte d’Ivoire Grow Profits

Women entrepreneurs learn about microcredit.
Women entrepreneurs learn about microcredit.
USAID/Dao Daouda
Open house introduces business owners to lenders
“I had a completely different mindset and would have never even thought of going to a microfinance institution to ask for loans.”

Since the end of Côte d’Ivoire’s post-electoral crisis in 2010, USAID has aimed to promote more effective engagement between citizens and government. In collaboration with the Mayor’s Office in Abobo, USAID, through its Office of Transition Initiatives, helped organize an open house in November 2013 to help women affected by the crisis obtain financial loans for small businesses. More than 300 women traders gathered at Abobo City Hall to get information from and submit applications to nine microfinance institutions.

Since the open house four months ago, one of the more well-established microcredit institutions in Côte d’Ivoire, Microcred, has provided 382 loans, 210 of which were made to women. Microcred had few clients in Abobo before the open house. Most of the loans were given to women who participated in the open house or who heard of Microcred from those who did participate. The average loan is approximately $800. As a result of the activity's success, Microcred has assigned a team to support their new clients and will soon open a branch office in Abobo. 

Loan recipient Bintou Cissé, a widow and mother of five from Abobo, is a prime example of the impact of this support. With a $1,000 loan, she started to expand her business of cloth dyeing and selling traditional fabric. Her income has since doubled to $160 per month. She is reinvesting her extra income in her business. 

“This open house has been a blessing for us. I had a completely different mindset and would have never even thought of going to a microfinance institution to ask for loans," she said. "Today, I am earning more money and I was able to hire one more woman to help … I will send the rest of my children to school next year if God wills.”

Last updated: August 01, 2014

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