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Pierrette Kouakou, the Ivorian who trains the African entrepreneurs of tomorrow

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Training the entrepreneurs of tomorrow is the goal of the Ivorian Pierrette Kouakou who has been running FIN’elle for a year now, a training program launched by the Ivorian group COFINA, which specializes in microfinance. For this former banker, training women entrepreneurs is a development issue.

For fourteen years, Pierrette Kouakou worked in banking, and more specifically at UBA, the group founded by Nigerian billionaire and philanthropist Tony Elumelu. She was able to measure the difficulties faced by women entrepreneurs, particularly in the informal sector, to access credit. ” The banker will wonder : Is this woman married ? Does it have a warranty ? Does she have children ? Is she old enough to have ? And if so, what impact will her future pregnancy have on her business? ? There are aspects related to women that are very different from men says the entrepreneur.

In December 2021, Pierrette Kouakou joined the Ivorian microfinance group COFINA to lead END’She, in other words “finance for them”, a training program for women who create their own business. ” Most of the women who have taken this training have told us unanimously that they are now able to read their financial statements, understand their financial statements and can approach a bank for financing, she reports. They were able, through this training, to rethink the opportunities they had, and to upgrade them in relation to the markets they are addressing. »

► To read also: Report: women and micro-enterprises in Togo

Africa holds the world record for female entrepreneurship

FIN’elle has just partnered with one of the American leaders in professional education, the Babson College group, to train trainers and send them throughout West Africa. The idea is to target women in the informal sector, but also SME managers. Confronting the very masculine world of business is also part of the teaching axes, believes Pierrette Kouakou.

Today in Africa and all over the world, we have examples of women who have succeeded in breaking the glass ceiling. And for our generation, I think we have to keep fighting to contribute to our economies fairly.

Born into a sororie of five girls, the Ivorian, who grew up in an environment where education was privileged, targets in particular those who have not had this chance. ” There is still a lot of work to do, especially for women in rural areas where access to certain opportunities is still not relevant, she observes. And the system is not made for illiterate people. »

Female entrepreneurship reaches 27% in Africa, the world record. A figure that Pierrette Kouakou hopes to help improve.

► To read also: Djamilla Toure, amplifying the voices of women in the African diaspora

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