EIB and COFINA Partner to Advance Sustainable Agricultural Value Chains in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal with €26.8 Million Funding

EIB and COFINA Partner to Advance Sustainable Agricultural Value Chains in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal with €26.8 Million Funding

(IN BRIEF) Compagnie Financière Africaine (COFINA) in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, in collaboration with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Commission support, have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the development of sustainable agricultural value chains. This agreement includes the deployment of €16 million and €10 million in long-term financing by COFINA Côte d’Ivoire and COFINA Senegal, respectively, with the backing of the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+). The initiative is expected to support approximately 6,000 jobs in SMEs and mid-caps in both countries while focusing on agricultural value chains such as cocoa, cashews, food crops in Côte d’Ivoire, and cereals, horticulture in Senegal. Furthermore, the partnership places a strong emphasis on climate action, environmental sustainability, and financial inclusion, particularly for women. This collaboration represents one of the first actions under the 2023-2027 agreement between the European Commission and EIB for financing the private sector in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, aiming to stimulate long-term growth and resilience in these regions.

(PRESS RELEASE) LUXEMBOURG, 15-Sep-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — This is among the first operations under the new 2023-2027 agreement between the European Commission and the EIB for financing the private sector in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Technical assistance to better take into account the specific characteristics of female customers will be combined with this financing provided by the EIB with EU support. This cooperation will enable the COFINA Group to step up its financing to companies empowering women as entrepreneurs, managers, employees and consumers of products and services, thus increasing their participation in the economy, in line with the 2X Challenge initiative, whose criteria are aligned with the OECD’s gender objectives.

Financing of the economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) is now essentially based on the mobilisation of short-term deposits, which limits the financial sector’s ability to support the long-term development of businesses. Moreover, in the agricultural sector, improving business productivity and resilience to climate challenges requires the development of infrastructure that can only be amortised over time, such as in the areas of irrigation, mechanisation and storage. Agriculture has a seasonal production cycle, which means that investments take time to generate returns.

The long maturity of the EIB’s intermediated credit lines will extend the duration of the COFINA Group’s lending to the economy in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, and in particular will support the sustainable growth of the agricultural sector by providing companies active in this sector with the resources needed to invest, innovate and prosper.

By strengthening the agricultural sector, these funds contribute to the food sovereignty, reduced dependency on imports and economic stability of Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, while promoting environmentally-friendly agricultural practices, adoption of modern technologies, and job creation in rural areas.

This first cooperation between the EIB and the COFINA Group is part of the European Union’s external action and comes under the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). It contributes to the achievement of the African Union Agenda 2063 and the EU Multiannual Indicative Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa 2021-2027, which supports stronger regional and continental economic integration through inclusive, job-creating economic growth.

“Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the agricultural and agri-food sector must be supported to face the challenge of food sovereignty. It is in this perspective that the EIB’s partnership with the pan-African COFINA Group will have a real impact on the lives of entrepreneurs and SMEs in this strategic sector, both in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire,” said Managing Director of COFINA Senegal Alassane Dia.

“As a mesofinance institution, this partnership will enable us in Côte d’Ivoire to expand our support to the agricultural sector, which has long been the driver of development for our country. In this way, we will be able to reach rural populations through cooperatives and associations. We aim to provide solutions that will enable them to automate their production chain all the way up to the crop processing stage and make them local champions,” said Managing Director of COFINA Côte d’Ivoire Amed Sié Touré.

“I welcome the European Investment Bank’s support for this infrastructure project to strengthen food security through the development of sustainable, proficient value chains such as cocoa, cashews and food crops in Côte d’Ivoire, and cereals and horticulture in Senegal. With this new financial and technical support, the EIB reaffirms its commitment to supporting its partners in Africa in their work for local people, especially women, and for the environment and climate. With EIB Global, our new branch dedicated to development and partnerships, we are strongly committed to supporting the European Union’s Global Gateway initiative to act as closely as possible to the people and in key areas for the African continent such as support to the private sector and innovation, the digital economy, renewable energy, water, agriculture and transport,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle.

“Obtaining bank financing remains a huge challenge for SMEs and the banking sector faces great constraints in supporting them. I am confident that the guarantee put in place by the European Union to enable the EIB to support the West African financial sector will help unlock a financing hub for Ivorian SMEs operating in the country’s key agricultural value chains, in particular cocoa, cashews and food crops. In this way, not only will new jobs be created but Côte d’Ivoire will strengthen its strategic food autonomy and resilience,” said EU Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire Francesca Di Mauro.

“Against an international backdrop marked by a series of crises including COVID-19 and more recently the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine with its resulting market disruptions — in particular price increases — the Government of Senegal has reaffirmed its food sovereignty goals. In order to achieve these objectives, it is essential that public infrastructure investments be passed on by private investments along the agrosilvopastoral and fisheries value chains. Access to finance, including investment credit for cooperatives, SMEs and mid-caps, is critical, particularly in terms of gender and climate objectives. The European Union therefore supports this operation with EIB-COFINA in Senegal, trusting that it will provide an appropriate response and help reduce the private financing gap affecting value chains in Senegal,” said EU Ambassador to Senegal Jean-Marc Pisani.

Background information

About the European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the lending institution of the European Union (EU) and is owned by the EU Member States. It provides long-term financing for viable investment projects in order to help achieve the European Union’s policy objectives.

The EIB has been a strong partner of African countries for more than 55 years. Through EIB Global, the bank is strengthening its presence in Africa. Over the past decade, the EIB has provided more than €28 billion for investment in innovative technologies, green energy, water, education, agriculture, telecommunications, healthcare, and businesses in 40 countries across the continent. Since the start of the pandemic in 2019-2020 alone, the EIB has provided more than €8.5 billion for new private and public investment across Africa.

EIB Global is the EIB Group’s specialised arm devoted to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance. EIB Global is designed to foster a strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through our offices across the world.


Founded in 2013, the COFINA Group is the first African financial institution dedicated to mesofinance, the “missing middle” between microfinance and traditional banking that offers SMEs easy access to credit. Active in eight African countries (Burkina Faso, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Senegal and Togo) and with an office in Paris dedicated to the diaspora, the COFINA Group has established itself as a benchmark in terms of supporting entrepreneurs and SMEs in West and Central Africa. Operating in accordance with international standards and offering its clients meso and microcredits, insurance/bancassurance products, m-banking and e-banking products, social housing financing and structured financing, the COFINA Group supports entrepreneurs and SMEs, whose financing needs have become too great for microfinance institutions and not sufficiently structured for traditional banks. In a few years, the COFINA Group has managed to develop a well-identified brand, notably through its COFINA subsidiaries located, among others, in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal and to become a recognised player between the microfinance and banking sectors.

About the European Union’s priorities in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal

Launched at the end of 2021, the Global Gateway strategy is a European Commission initiative contributing to the sustainable development of emerging partner countries in the digital, sustainable agriculture, energy and transport fields as well as strengthening health, education and research systems worldwide.

With the new financial instrument for neighbourhood, development and international cooperation called Global Europe, the European Union, its Member States – including their implementing agencies and public development banks – and the European Investment Bank, making up Team Europe, are building on the mobilisation of the private sector to promote local added value, sustainable growth and job creation. The private sector plays a key role in putting this strategy into practice on the ground in both Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, through the identification, co-financing and implementation of concrete projects.

Media Contacts:

Anne-Cécile Auguin
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Isabelle Vovor
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Press Office

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SOURCE: European Investment Bank


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