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"Pour elles" RD Congo
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 43% of the economic activity is managed by women. However, many constraints limit Congolese women entrepreneurship. To support women's economic empowerment and reveal the potential of their businesses, AFD Group is financing the "Pour Elles" project with a 12 million euros grant.

Signed on October 31, 2022 in Kinshasa between the Minister of Finance and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Group, the "Pour Elles: support to women entrepreneurs" program contributes to the economic empowerment of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It supports entrepreneurial initiatives led by women and supports the Congolese public-private ecosystem that accompanies them. "Successful candidates will be selected through a call for projects. These projects will mobilize the local expertise of Congolese actors already active in women's entrepreneurship," explained the Congolese Minister of Finance, Nicolas Kazadi. "We are counting on the existing ecosystem in the DRC to provide concrete support and impact for women entrepreneurs," said Bruno Aubert, French Ambassador to the DRC.

Reversing stereotypes
With a €12 million grant over 4 years
, this project aims to provide financial and technical support to more than 1,200 women entrepreneurs in the provinces of Kinshasa, Kikwit and Bukavu, targeting initiatives with a high potential for scale-up. "More than three-quarters of the budget for this project is mobilized to support women entrepreneurs in their development and access to financing, taking into account all the barriers that hinder them," emphasizes Safia Ibrahim, Director of AFD's Kinshasa office. Women entrepreneurs, beyond the immediate difficulties identified to develop their businesses in the DRC, face structural barriers linked to their gender. The Pour Elles program takes a systemic approach to these issues and offers support tailored to them. It will also support Congolese public-private actors involved in women's entrepreneurship, including ministries, agencies, business incubators, and women's business networks, in order to improve the services they offer to women. The project will promote success stories around women's entrepreneurship in order to raise awareness and promote models of women entrepreneurs. "The aim is to reverse the stereotypes and clichés surrounding women by reaffirming their role and potential in the Congolese economy," explains Julia Pantigny, AFD's Entrepreneurship Advisor.  
Mobilizing French expertise
In response to a joint request from the Ministry of Gender, Family and Children (MGFE) and the Ministry of Entrepreneurship, Small and Medium Enterprises (MEPME), this project, co-constructed with all Congolese stakeholders, also involves Expertise France for a period of 4 years. "Expertise France will mobilize, alongside the Ministry of Gender, Family and Children and the Ministry of Entrepreneurship, Small and Medium Enterprises, the Congolese entrepreneurial ecosystem and a pool of dedicated experts, in order to multiply the impact of the actions with the beneficiaries and ensure an anchoring with institutional actors, the private sector and civil society", assures Jérémie Pellet, Director General of Expertise France.
Proparco, AFD's private sector subsidiary, will be able to support this initiative by granting guarantees to financial institutions, in particular EURIZ guarantees which aim to encourage the financing of SMEs in sectors of activity and segments with a high development impact (including SMEs owned or run by women), by offering coverage of up to 70% of the amount of the loans granted by the banks

About Agence Française de Développement Group

AFD Group implements France’s policy in the areas of development and international solidarity. The Group includes Agence Française de Développement (AFD), which finances the public sector and NGOs, as well as research and education in sustainable development; its subsidiary Proparco, which is dedicated to private sector financing; and Expertise France, a technical cooperation agency. The Group finances, supports and accelerates transitions towards a fairer, more resilient world.
With our partners, we are building shared solutions with and for the people of the Global South. Our teams are at work on more than 4,000 projects in the field, in the French Overseas Departments and Territories, in 115 countries and in regions in crisis. We strive to protect global public goods – promoting a stable climate, biodiversity and peace, as well as gender equality, education and healthcare. In this way, we contribute to the commitment of France and the French people to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Towards a world in common.

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