Empowering African SMEs: I&P at the ANDE Annual Conference 2023Submitted by Admin on Mon, 09/18/2023 - 14:00
Held from 12th to 15th September, the ANDE annual conference in Accra, Ghana, has brought together more than a hundred diverse stakeholders from the African entrepreneurial ecosystem. It covered various topics under the theme “Accelerating Action: Small Business Solutions and the SDGs”, from entrepreneurial tools and SME financing to creating impact.
Among the speakers were included two members from the I&P team: Sébastien Boyé, co-CEO of I&P, and Koumba Anouma, Director of the program I&P Education to Employment. Their participation has enabled us to reaffirm I&P's commitment to supporting African Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) as catalysts for sustainable development.
The African SME Ecosystem: A Driver for Development
I&P has been a trailblazer in impact investing in Africa. Our approach focuses on supporting companies in their development by providing them with not just financial resources but also the necessary mentorship and guidance to build sustainable businesses. By doing so, we help SMEs overcome the challenges they face in scaling up, such as access to capital, markets, and technical expertise.
« Regarding ESG approaches with SMEs we need to be intentional and to adapt to our local realities »
Koumba Anouma, Director of the I&P Education to Employment program during the panel « Environmental, Social, and Governance Integration for Small and Growing Businesses: Strategies and Opportunities for Effective Implementation ».
Africa's economic landscape has been undergoing significant transformations in recent years, and SMEs are at the forefront of this change. These businesses, often operating in sectors like agriculture, renewable energy, healthcare, and technology, education, are essential contributors to job creation, economic growth, and poverty reduction.
« For example, one of our local funds, Sinergi Burkina has unlocked the stellar growth of Agroserv. With a USD200k investment, it allowed the company to fundraise USD12 million 5 years later, impacting the life of thousands of small holders farmers, redefining the whole value chain in Burkina Faso and creating hundreds of jobs. This impressive story shows the importance of developping risk-taking financing tools for all stages of development of small emerging businesses in Africa ».
Sébastien Boyé, Co-CEO of I&P during the panel « Financing and Supporting Young and Growing SMEs in Frontier Markets: The Importance of the Financing Continuum for the African Entrepreneur Ecosystem.
A Call to Action
The ANDE Annual Conference 2023 served as a powerful reminder that supporting African SMEs is not just a philanthropic endeavor. It is an investment in the continent's future prosperity. I&P left the conference with a renewed sense of purpose and a commitment to continue their mission of empowering African entrepreneurs.
In conclusion, I&P’s active participation at the ANDE Annual Conference 2023 underscored the vital role of impact investors in fostering the growth and development of African SMEs. Their commitment to collaboration, knowledge sharing, and sustainable impact reaffirms the belief that African SMEs hold the key to unlocking the continent's economic potential and improving the livelihoods of millions of people.