In honor of Women’s History Month and as part of their ongoing programs to help women entrepreneurs, The Coca-Cola Company today revealed the details of a major initiativeÂ they’veÂ created with the International Finance Company.
Working with the International Finance Company, a member of the World Bank Group, Coca-Cola today announced a $100 million, three year joint program that will provide access to finance optionsÂ forÂ thousands of women entrepreneurs in Africa and other emerging markets.
The initiative will work using a network of local and regional banking institutions to provide financing. The plan also looks to provide business skills training to small and medium businesses that are owned or operated by women entrepreneurs.
“Women entrepreneurs represent significant untapped economic potential in developing countries – they are essential for creating jobs and achieving sustainable growth,” said James Scriven, IFC Director of Financial Markets. “This innovative collaboration with Coca-Cola will help expand access to financing for thousands of women who are part of the company’s supply and distribution chain.”
IFC also announced an additional $50 million loan to Access Bank Nigeria to help it expand lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a quarter of which are funded by women. These SMEs will gain increased access to finance through IFC’s investment in a $22 million risk-sharing facility with Access Bank of Nigeria, in close collaboration with Coca-Cola’s partner, the Nigerian Bottling Company PLC.
“Women entrepreneurs make significant contributions to emerging and developing economies, yet have lower access to finance than their male counterparts,â€ said Nathan Kalumbu, president of Coca-Cola’s Eurasia and Africa Group. “By providing greater access to capital, we are investing in our own success and the success of the communities we serve. We are excited about this opportunity to harness the collective power of our organizations to positively impact women in Eurasia and Africa.”