Cote d’Ivoire launches one-stop window for SMEs

This one-stop desk is a holding consisting of two entities, one in charge of the technical supervision in terms of…

This one-stop desk is a holding consisting of two entities, one in charge of the technical supervision in terms of training of SMEs and the other which will be in charge of facilitating the access to financing of SMEs and Very Small Enterprises (VSE).The GUDE-PME is the unique operator at the service of SMEs and very small enterprises which will contribute to their support and to the optimization of their financing in order to create a new economic dynamic in Côte d’Ivoire.

The Ivorian Prime Minister, Patrick Achi, proceeding to the launch of the GUDE-PME, said that this “structure will be the ally of our entrepreneurs to provide concrete and innovative responses to their challenges of creation, financing and growth.”

The ambition is “to make them the spearhead of a prosperous and united Cote d’Ivoire, where jobs will be numerous and incomes growing,” said Mr. Patrick Achi, indicating that the SME “already provide more than 50 percent of total investment in the country.

The establishment of the GUDE-PME is the result of a structuring reform in terms of formalization of SMEs and sustainable job creation. As a true gateway for businesses, the GUDE-PME will facilitate their support and access to financing.

According to GUDE-PME’s General Manager, Yaya Ouattara, “several studies have shown that support alone is not enough to make an SME competitive. To do this, the GUDE-PME will work with the various players in the financial sector to put in place solutions and products tailored to the funding of SMEs.”

Mr. Stephane Aka-Anghui, Executive Director of the Patronat Ivoirien (Ivorian Employers’ Union) was pleased with the establishment of this tool that combines support and financing, a tool that comes in an ecosystem where public and private actors intervene on the support of SMEs or their financing.

“The strong expectations is to see how the GUDE-SME will interact with this ecosystem; it is sometimes a question of coordination, synergy and complementarity,” he said, adding that among these actors there is the General Confederation of Enterprises of Cote d’Ivoire (Cgeci, Patronat ivoirien) which has nearly 2,000 SMEs, representing 2/3 of the members of the organization.

For Ms. Patricia Zoundi, President of the Movement of Small and Medium Enterprises (MPME), the new element is that “we are setting up a holding company that will include two entities, one in charge of technical supervision in terms of training of SMEs and the other which will be responsible for financing SMEs.” 

The president of the Movement of Small and Medium Enterprises (MPME) also applauded this device, calling however for the sustainability of resources that will be made available to this entity for support and sustainable funding.  

The blocking factors in the financing of SMEs in Cote d’Ivoire are notably the lack of structuring and guarantee capacity. The GUDE-PME should make it possible to resolve these questions with the accompaniment of the SME in their structuring and the installation of a guarantee fund.  This should enable banks to finance the SME projects submitted by the GUDE-PME.

The Ivorian Minister of Trade, Industry and Promotion of SMEs, Souleymane Diarrassouba, argued that “the private sector represents the instrument of changes in production patterns in our country.”

Statistics show that from 2016 to 2021, the private sector has contributed an average of 4.7 points to growth, with an overall average rate of 6.2 points over this period. The share of contracts awarded to SMEs rose from 37.7 percent at the end of December 2020 to 50.5 percent in December 2021, recording an increase of 12.8 points, showing a clear increase in the number of SMEs accessing public contracts.

A few years ago, the country setup Cote d’Ivoire PME and a guarantee fund, but the government and its partners realized that these structures were not working together. Today, the objective is to create a sort of continuum for SMEs and very small businesses.

The National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2025 of Cote d’Ivoire of 59,000 billion CFA francs, with an expected contribution of the private sector of 75 percent as well as the Strategy Côte d’Ivoire 2030.