The partnership is a three year joint initiative to provide finance to women entrepreneurs in developing markets.
To provide funds for women empowerment, Coca-Cola Nigeria and the International Finance Corporation, IFC, Monday, signed a $100 million agreement to finance women micro-distributors in the company’s value chain.
The landmark agreement signed in Atlanta, USA, between the multinational firm and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, provides for a three-year joint initiative to provide finance to women entrepreneurs in developing markets across Eurasia and Africa.
Coca-Cola says that the deal provides Nigeria a US$22 million (about N3.5 billion) grant and the company is expected to work with both IFC and Access Bank to provide the finance to women Micro-Distributors; in close collaboration with the Nigerian Bottling Company, Coca-Cola’s bottling partner.
The collaboration builds on the synergies between Coca-Cola’s 5by20 Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative and IFC’s Banking on Women Program to help address barriers women entrepreneurs commonly face in some of the world’s poorest countries.
IFC will work through its network of local and regional banking institutions to provide financing and business skills’ training to small and medium sized businesses owned or operated by women entrepreneurs across the Coca-Cola value chain.
Nathan Kalumbu, President of Eurasia and Africa Group, The Coca-Cola Company, said that providing women with greater access to capital enables the company to succeed in its host communities.
“Women entrepreneurs make significant contributions to emerging and developing economies; yet have lower access to finance than their male counterparts,” Mr. Kalumbu said.
“We are excited about this opportunity to harness the collective power of our organizations to positively impact women in Eurasia and Africa,” he added.
The partnership between both global giants is expected to help expand access to finance for thousands of women who are part of the company’s supply and distribution chain, according to James Scriven, IFC Director of Financial Markets.
“Women entrepreneurs represent significant untapped economic potential in developing countries – they are essential for creating jobs and achieving sustainable growth,” said Mr. Scriven.
Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Clem Ugorji, urged women entrepreneurs to take advantage of the initiative to be better positioned in national development.
“Every economically disadvantaged woman who manages against all odds to become a successful entrepreneur is to be celebrated because she has created a brighter future for herself, her children, her neighbours and the world that we all share,” said Mr. Ugorji.
“Women form the backbone of families and communities in the developing world, and a growing body of evidence demonstrates that investments in women’s business success can have significant positive impact on local economies and communities.”