40th Midi de la Microfinance et de l'inclusion financière 

Enabling womEntrepreneurs in Africa 

40th edition in the exceptional presence of Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg 

Watch the 40th Midi!

Luxembourg, 5 July 2017 

The women are ready!

For this 40th anniversary, marked by the exceptional presence of Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess and the Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, Romain Schneider, the discussion focused on the obstacles to women's entrepreneurship in Africa and the role of microfinance and mesofinance. To discuss it, ADA had invited women from the field: Félicité Kambou, Director of the Coopérative de Prestation des Services Agricoles Coobsa (COPSA-C) in Burkina Faso; Josée Mukandinda, Director of Operations at the Umutanguha Finance Company microfinance institution in Rwanda; Marèma Bao, Deputy Director General of the COFINA microfinance institute in Senegal; and finally Myriam Kadio-Morokro, founder of the PROCRÉA clinic in Abidjan, also moderator of this debate.

Myriam Kadio-Morokro began by putting the debate before a packed and particularly receptive audience on the theme: "We are African women entrepreneurs, wives and mothers in a social and cultural context where men have a predominant place".

She became interested in the role microfinance could play for these African women. According to Josée Mukandinda: "Microfinance has a dual mission: a financial mission first, through the granting of financial products (savings, loans), then a social and non-financial mission, through support in project management. It is the first step to the emancipation of the woman, while she still has to provide for her household when she returns from work."

For Marèma Bao, the challenge is quite different: "Mesofinance - positioned between micro and banking - allows women to leave micro-credit to build solid and sustainable SMEs. In sub-Saharan Africa, 80% of enterprises are SMEs, only 20% are large enterprises. One in four women has started a small business and is an entrepreneur. However, very few of these micro-entrepreneurs move from the micro stage to the SME stage. We must accompany them, that is our whole mission". SMEs have a significant impact in Africa: 1,000 euros of investment in an SME is equivalent to 3 new employees, who themselves will take care of 10 people. "That's a huge social impact!" says Marèma Bao. "There's a lot of potential to exploit, we're confident! The women are ready!".

As for Félicité Kambou, a specialist in rural areas, "microfinance means the emancipation of women. It has enabled him to develop income-generating activities, enabling him to meet his own needs and those of his family (schooling of the children to ensure the long-term succession of the activity, care...)".

The debate highlighted the obstacles to women's access to finance: a lack of reliable guarantees on the one hand, usually reserved for men, but also a lack of information and financial education that can be explained by a deeply rooted mentality that places men at the forefront of important household and business decisions. The speakers' testimonies provided some keys to overcome these difficulties: in terms of financial support, guarantees can be provided by government funds, or even smaller-scale solidarity groups, as Josée Mukandinda pointed out. In terms of non-financial support, institutions such as ADA help train and educate African women in entrepreneurship.

During questions put to the assembly, Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess looked at the role that microinsurance could play within these institutions, as a guarantee in the event of illness or death of the entrepreneur. This is financial protection for the female entrepreneur client and, in fact, the first support that can be provided.

In the exceptional presence of:

  • Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
  • Mr. Romain Schneider, Minister of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs


11.45: Welcoming of the participants and placement in the room (for protocol reasons, participants are asked to take their seats in the room at 11:45, before the arrival of Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess)

12.00: Welcome remarks - Pierre Ahlborn, delegated administrator at Banque de Luxembourg

12.05: Conference-debate - Exchange between participants on the theme of women entrepreneurs in Africa:
- Mrs Myriam Kadio-Morokro, Executive Director, PROCRÉA Clinic (Côte d'Ivoire)
- Mrs Josée Mukandinda, Director of Operations, Umutanguha Finance Company (Rwanda)
- Mrs Marèma Bao, Deputy General Manager, COFINA (Senegal)
- Mrs Félicité Kambou, Coopérative de Prestation des Services Agricoles Coobsa (COPSA-C), Burkina Faso

12.35: Questions and answers with the public

13.00: Closing of the conference, followed by a lunch cocktail

The speakers of this Midi

Myriam Kadio-Morokro, General Manager, PROCRÉA clinic, Côte d'Ivoire

Myriam Kadio-Morokro has been the general manager of the PROCRÉA clinic since its creation in 2008 and is in charge of strategic management and development​. She oversees the clinic’s operations and manages relations with public and private institutions. She also sits on the Board of Directors.

Ms. Kadio-Morokro was born in Côte d'Ivoire in 1971 and is the oldest of five siblings. She was therefore only 10 when the first birth of a child produced through in vitro fertilisation in France in 1982; this was a major event that has defined her career.

After graduating from high school in 1990, she began her studies in medical sciences at the University of Abidjan, where she received her doctorate in 2000.

She then continued her studies at the Universtiy of Medicine Pierre and Marie Curie Paris XIII, where she received a degree in Medicine and Reproductive Biology in 2003. After interning in Paris, she returned to Côte d'Ivoire where she decided to open a fertility clinic based on a European model and adapted to the current African state of affairs.

In 2004, she took charde of a traditional analytical laboratory in Abidjan, while she continued to develop plans for the clinic. This included a search for funding that lasted three years! In 2008, four years after her return to Côte d'Ivoire, the PROCREA clinic was born.

General and Strategic Manager of PROCREA, she has built the clinic into the primary medical reproductive center in Côte d'Ivoire. Thanks to her expertise in reproductive healthcare, she helped found GIERAF (Inter African Group of Fertility Studies, Research and Application) with eight other african countries in 2009 and was the Secretary-General for two years.

On top of her work at the clinic, Ms. Kadio-Morokro founded the LYA Foundation dedicated to living with Sickle-Cell Disease along with several other people who have had loved ones affected by the disease. She is the vice-president of the LYA Foundation.

Félicité Kambou, Director, Agricultural Service Cooperative Coobsa (COPSA-C), Burkina Faso

Félicité Kambou is Director of the Agricultural Service Cooperative Coobsa (COPSA-C) in Burkina Faso. The word “Coobsa” is from the Dagaare language and means “growing is best”. COPSA-C was founded in 2009 and is a farmers’ organisation that is specialized in warrantage, an inventory credit system for agricultural produce. 

An entrepreneur to the core, Ms. Kambou has founded several small businesses in Burkina Faso, which is not only one of the poorest countries in Africa, but also a country where women have only a limited access to finance, education and autonomy. Before Ms. Kambou started working for COOPSA in 2009 she has been working in for different NGOs and projects as a local facilitator and grass-root worker since 1992.  

Josée Mukandinda, Operations Manager, Umutanguha Finance Company, Rwanda 

Josée Mukandinda, originally from Rwanda, has over 12 years of experience in the microfinance sector, where she has held several leadership positions. She is currently the Operations Manager at UMUTANGUHA Finance Company (UFC) Ltd, where she is in charge of the everyday management of the loan and savings portfolio of over 180,000 clients, of whom 52% are women. She had previously represented UFC in a number of other leadership positions, including head of the Technical and Marketing Officer and Inspection Monitoring and Development units.

Ms. Mukandinda has extensive experience in project management ; she has lead projects relating to the financial inclusion of young people with UFC, including the “Youth Start” project financed by UNCDF ; the “Finance education and saving” project financed by Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) ; and the project “Young Entrepreneurs Rwanda” financed by ADA.

Ms. Mukandinda has a diploma in Social Sciences. She is a professional CGAP-certified trainer of Microfinance, and has led several trainings on the management of loans and savings for the staff of financial institutions. These include trainings on the subject of financial management, governance, the management of loans and cooperative accounting. She also holds a professional certificate in the management of savings and credit cooperatives from ISPEC (Pan African Higher Institute of Cooperative Economy) and DID (Development International Desjardins). 

Marèma Bao, Deputy Director, COFINA, Senegal

After twenty years of experience in business management and strategic development, Marèma Bao is widely recognized and respected internationally.

Ms. Bao holds an MBA in Project Management from HEC Montreal and a Bachelor in Information Systems from the University of Sherbrooke in Canada. She began her career with Bell Canada before joining the National Bank of Canada. After a period of time with Fjits Consulting and La Poste in France, she returned to Senegal in 2004 and was distinguished for her work in the microfinance sector. She joined the Crédit Mutuel du Sénégal (the primary microfinance institution in West Africa), where she rose to the positions of Director of Information Systems and later Chief Operating Officer (COO) and finally Chief Executive Officer.

She moved to Cofina (African Financial Company) in 2012 as COO where she supervised the Quality Control, Human Resources, Innovation, Marketing and Information Technology departments. COFINA is an organization that finances SMEs in Africa.

Spread out over four African countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea and Senegal), COFINA is a private company based exclusively on African capital.

The “Midis de la microfinance” are jointly organised by ADA, the Banque de Luxembourg. They are supported by the Luxembourg Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and InFiNe.lu. The conferences are held during lunch breaks, between 12 and 2 p.m. Their agenda includes the presentation by an inclusive-finance expert of a study or a practical case, which is followed by a Question and Answer session and buffet lunch.


logos partenaires en

More about the discussion topics

In order to provide context for the discussion, we have assembled some statistics relating to the everyday challenges facing African women who want to start or develop their own business. 


Percent of women who have borrowed from a financial institution (>15 years old) – as a %

Source: World Bank, 2011 and 2014

Midi FemmeEmprunts EN

The source of loans for women (>15 years old)

Source: World Bank, 2014

Midi Sources EN

The rate of economically active women (as a % of the total female population >15 years old)

Source: World Bank, 2014

Midi EconomicallyActive

Rate of men and women with a mobile account (as a % of the total population >15 years old)

Source: World Bank, 2014

Midi MobileAccount
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