38th Midi de la microfinance et de l'inclusion financière
Banque de Luxembourg,
14 Boulevard Royal - Luxembourg
At the previous Midi meeting entitled Small is Powerful, when the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the fight against poverty was discussed, Patrick Losch, a member of ADA’s Board, stated that entrepreneurial spirit was stronger in Southern countries than in Europe.
At this 38th Midi, we will continue to explore this view and focus on the new face of [CL1] entrepreneuring in Africa. In fact, the continent is becoming something of an Eldorado for the development of SMEs. African entrepreneurs from the educated middle classes are shaking up the economy and creating innovative start-ups, not only in the technology sector but also in the agri-food, building, healthcare, tourism and energy sectors.
A genuine entrepreneurial revolution is underway. These SMEs are becoming an increasingly significant vector for job creation and economic growth across the continent.
It is estimated that in the years to come, Africa could even rival with China or Europe. Africa’s GDP could reach that of the European Union currently by 2050, with a population rising to two billion!
With this in mind, Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg, from impact investment group Investisseurs & Partenaires, set out to describe the emergence of these SMEs in their book, ‘Enterprising Africa’. They describe a new age where African entrepreneurs drive their countries’ growth and help improve living standards.
So what role can microfinance play in their emergence? How can we invest in these SMEs despite the uncertainties and risks inherent to the continent? Will funds develop the tools required for development?
Who are the future businesspeople of Africa, who are transforming the continent? What profile do they have and what challenges do they face on the road to success? Above all, what how will this change the face of Africa?
All of these questions will be addressed during this Midi de la microfinance, when Jean-Michel Severino, co-author of the book ‘Entreprenante Afrique’ and President of the ‘Investisseurs & Partenaires’ group, will talk about the entrepreneurial momentum gathering in Sub-Saharan Africa and the ensuing new opportunities. He will speak alongside Eric Campos, Managing Director at Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation, who will share his working experience with African SMEs as a ‘social business’ investor.
Discussions between the two speakers will be moderated by Luc Vandeweerd, Executive Advisor at ADA, with a conclusion from Laura Foschi, Deputy Director of ADA (Luxembourg).
33rd Midi de la microfinance et de l'inclusion financière
This was the slogan of this Midi of December 15, 2015, during which was discussed the role of small businesses in the fight against poverty. "The entrepreneurial spirit is more developed in the South than in Europe," explained Franck Renaudin, Entrepreneurs du Monde.
"For us to encourage them" adds Max Meyer, President of ADA, which wants to help MFIs to support but also to promote the creation of SMEs. After an expertise of over 20 years of microfinance activities, the Luxembourg NGO, ADA wants to fill a missing link, the missing middle, a forgotten part of microfinance, developing access to finance for developing countries entrepreneurs wish to engage in the creation of very small businesses and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Specifically, this new pole will provide technical support to assist microfinance institutions to target small businesses, they apprehend wrong. This is a change of scale as loans microfinances are typically a few hundred euro. For small businesses, they now reach several thousand euros.
Support will also be commercial, to help them prepare a business plan before the launch and ensure the sustainability of the activity.
Finally ADA will provide financial support: ADA offers the ability to find the funds to microfinance institutions to finance small businesses. Today, access to finance for SMEs is almost impossible for entrepreneurs. On the one hand, the amounts are too small for conventional banks and ultimately too large for microfinance institutions. Hence the importance of establishing a new pole center to compensate for this lack.
Providing this service is essential to the fight against poverty. It is in fact, small businesses that create jobs. They might represent an estimated 30% share of jobs. At a time when Africa is growing exponentially and becomes a new "China", at a time when starting a business is a goal for more and more people in Europe and Africa, the issue of entrepreneurship is more relevant than ever. In Luxembourg, where the microfinance investment funds weigh several billion euros, the issue of SME financing in Africa, Asia or South America and ROI is sure to also attract the interest of investors .
Franck Renaudin recalls that ultimately support to small and micro businesses, unlike the support to micro-entrepreneurs, differ in size of targeted people. It may have greater results on the economy, since small businesses create jobs.
This 33rd Midi de la Microfinance allowed to interact with Franck Renaudin, Director and founder of the NGO Entrepreneurs du Monde based on three tasks: social microfinance, social entrepreneurship and support of small business development. The meeting, moderated by Patrick Losch, a member of the Board of ADA and Friendship Luxembourg has enabled the sharing of experiences between the guest and Laura Foschi, Director of Institutional Development ADA.
Franck Renaudin said an accompaniment is essential in starting the project and in its launching. But unfortunately for this to work, often only one credit is not enough. Because of energy costs mainly, donations are also needed to ensure the viability of an SME.
He added that it is also important to invest in the 'useful' products that may in the long term improve the lives of entrepreneurs and residents, as the creative energy products.
This Midi de la microfinance et de l’inclusion financière was organized with the support of the Luxembourg Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, the InFiNe.lu network and in collaboration with the Banque de Luxembourg.