The IFC and the African Development Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) have announced a new partnership to boost the professional capacities, incomes, and access to finance of thousands of Ivorian women smallholder farmers in the staple food sector.
The three-year advisory project is in consultation with Côte d’Ivoire’s government and financial institutions initiated to support 200 women-led farmer organisations in the country.
The IFC-AfDB Women-led Staple Food Cooperatives Advisory Project aims to assist largely informal organisations and smallholder women farmers with the formalisation process. Training on a variety of professional practices, including technical, business, and financial and contracting skills will be offered.
The IFC and the African Development Bank will work directly with financial institutions in Côte d’Ivoire to help women meet financing needs. The project will also serve as a platform to sustain collaboration with the government to improve the business environment for women-led cooperatives through legal, regulatory, and institutional reforms.
“This comprehensive project with the African Development Bank is an excellent opportunity for Ivorian women-led farmers to create and develop their businesses. Affordable and sustainable finance for women is a priority for IFC because of its potential to support entrepreneurs and their families, as well as to grow the wider economy,” said Aliou Maiga, IFC Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
IFC is a sister organisation of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group focused on the private sector in emerging markets.
Agriculture accounts for twenty five percent of Côte d’Ivoire’s GDP and almost half of its employment. Women farmer cooperatives in the country often lack access to financial training and skills.
“Working with the government of Côte d’Ivoire to address the bottlenecks facing women cooperatives in staple crops production and improving their enabling business environment will positively impact food production in the country but also enhance women-led cooperatives ability to fully participate in the economic growth of the country,” said Marie Laure Akin-Olugbade, the African Development Bank’s Regional Director for West Africa.
The $3 million project will be implemented with support from the Women Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative (We-Fi), the Private Sector Window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), with dedicated funding from the UK to support collaborations between the public and private sectors.