4 January, 2022 Member article

EDFI ElectriFI Finances Women Entrepreneurship in Clean Energy

4 January 2021 – EDFI ElectriFI (Electrification Financing Initiative) is investing 1.5 million euros in Fin’Elle, a subsidiary of the financial group Cofina. This financing will help remove barriers to female entrepreneurship in renewable energy in Ivory Coast.

Ivorian women investing in the renewable energy sector have the opportunity to benefit from the support of La finance pour elle (Fin’Elle), a microfinance institution dedicated to supporting female entrepreneurship in Ivory Coast. The subsidiary of the Cofina Group is receiving an investment of 1.5 million euros from EDFI ElectriFI (Electrification Financing Initiative).

This impact investment facility of the European Union (EU) finances companies and private projects in the start-up phase, focusing on new electrical connections and especially production capacity from renewable energy sources. The funding, which recently validated more than 980 million CFA francs, will allow Fin’Elle to support women’s initiatives to access clean energy.

Technical assistance

Microfinance wants to increase the proportion of eligible women and increase the volume of loans allocated to women entrepreneurs. It is therefore an impact investment in a country where 69% of Ivorians living in rural areas still do not have access to electricity according to Power Africa. At the same time, these populations are exposed to deforestation, a phenomenon that has caused the disappearance of more than 90% of Ivorian forest cover. This highlights the need for a transition to renewable energies, including ecological cooking systems.

EDFI’s investment is accompanied by technical assistance in the form of capacity building within this microfinance institution and other non-financial support tools. “We will work with Fin’Elle and an outside consultant to develop a green strategy for the institution,” says Lionel Dieu, senior investment officer for ElectriFI at EDFI Management Company.

In addition to financing women’s entrepreneurship in the renewable energy sector, the microfinance institution led by Khady Traoré invests in other sectors important for women’s empowerment. Just before the end of 2021, Fin’Elle signed a 5-million-euro loan agreement with the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO). Objective, to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) and women active in the cassava value chain in Ivory Coast.