In 2015, the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub launched an initiative to broaden its network of financial institutions, as most banks in West Africa are risk-adverse and, therefore, often are not often interested in small agribusinesses and start-ups. Following the signing of an agreement on Sept. 8, 2016 with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Trade and Investment Hub, Coris Bank, which has subsidiaries in several West African countries, will provide up to $17 million in loans for business expansion for small and medium agricultural processors and exporters working in the cereals, cashew, and shea sectors. For its part, the trade hub will provide technical assistance to Coris Bank in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Senegal to develop its knowledge of agro-processing and light manufacturing in West Africa. Jean-Francois Guay, Banyan Global’s Investment and Finance Lead for the Trade Hub, was integral to the signing of the agreement with Coris Bank. Mr. Guay notes, “Financial institutions’ lack of knowledge about the agribusiness sector, coupled with their general risk-adverse position, makes lending to the agricultural sector a continuous challenge…this makes our agreement with Coris Bank an especially important feat.” The Trade Hub’s new partnership with Coris Bank is a precursor to an agreement slated for later this year between Coris Bank and USAID’s Development Credit Authority, which bridges collateral gaps through the provision of repayment guarantees.
Jean-Francois Guay, Banyan Global’s investment and finance lead for trade hub, with Mr. Emmanuel Sawadogo, Coris Holding’s managing director, after signing the agreement.