Overcoming obstacles with Burkina Faso microfinance
“I have found ACEP Burkina to be very helpful, as well as quick and easy to work with,” Zabda says.
When setting up his business he struggled to find the right financing. Banks proposed a minimum business loan of 20 million CFA francs, or about €33,000. But he didn’t need that much. There also were many delays. “There would be a month to analyse your application, two more months to grant a loan,” he says.
Zabda’s first loan with ACEP Burkina, in 2016, was for 7 million CFA francs, or about €10,000. It took a week from the moment he applied until he received the money. “For a business owner like me, when a project comes along, you need to be able to react quickly. I feel ACEP Burkina’s financing enabled me to do that, and that is why I go back to them.”
Zabda is one of the first ACEP Burkina clients to qualify for larger financing for slightly larger companies. He now has received 20 million CFA francs as a loan—which he didn’t need in the beginning. For the future, he hopes to open more shops and continue working with ACEP.
“I have clients in Fada-Ngourma, Kaya and Koudougou. It would be good to be closer to them and not lose time dealing with things from here in Ouaga,” Zabda says. “It would also enable us to get more business, and I would like that. If today we are at 20 million, why can’t we be at 100 million in the future?”
Burkina Faso microfinance fosters financial inclusion
ACEP Burkina hopes to become the largest microfinance institution in Burkina Faso.
“Digitalisation and financial inclusion are in our thoughts and in our clients’ thoughts,” says Valentine, the ACEP investment manager. “They say they are tired of travelling to agencies and waiting for some hours, so we are looking at making credit renewals digital, for example. We can see that becoming popular.” ACEP is training staff on this technology and hopes to offer the service to existing clients. This convenience should attract new clients.
Valentine is motivated to make a difference in the lives of people like Mariam. “My favourite part of this job is going out and meeting people and seeing how we can help them, and seeing how they are changing their lives,” she says. “When Mariam started with us, she borrowed one million CFA francs. Her last transaction was five million. That shows how her business has grown. I love this aspect of my job.
“Look, if you don’t go out into the street and engage with people, you just can’t do microfinance.”