CDB provides funding to help Haitian entrepreneurs

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has announced that it will contribute USD500,000 to give female and male entrepreneurs in Haiti better access to business loan and savings products. The Bank’s funding will specifically focus on underserved and unserved micro, very small and small enterprises (MSEs) on the island.

In Haiti, few financial institutions cater to the needs of the country’s MSEs, whose average financing needs range from USD6,000 to USD23,000. Overall, these businesses face an aggregate financing gap of USD1.9 billion.

The Bank’s contribution will be made through the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The funds will be used to establish a specialised MSE business financing assessment unit, Centre Financier pour Entrepreneurs (CFE). The unit will be set up within Le Levier, a financial institution which has a network of 43 savings and credit cooperatives across Haiti’s 10 departments and 72 branches.

This initiative aims to strengthen the capacity of the financial institutions within Le Levier’s network to better appraise credit applications from MSE clients. With this process in place, MSE owners are expected to have better access to financing instruments that best suit their needs.

The project has two components. The first provides technical assistance for the establishment of the CFE within Le Levier, which take gender equality considerations into account. The second consists of a loan to Le Levier for onlending to first-tier savings and credit cooperatives that utilise the CFE’s capacity to create an MSE portfolio.

Through the initiative, CDB will also:

  • support the development of standardised financial products and services across the network’s geographical coverage area;
  • increase access to resources that would not be easily obtained by individual savings and credit cooperatives;
  • facilitate the pooling of financial resources and sharing the risk for larger loans, through syndications; and
  • enhance collaboration among the savings and credit cooperatives of Le Levier’s network.

CDB’s country partnership strategy with Haiti 2013−2016 identifies micro, small and medium enterprise development as a priority area for the Bank’s support.  CDB, through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services Network (CTCS), has also been a partner in improving the capacity of SOFIHDES, one of Haiti’s leading development finance institutions, to introduce innovative lending products to MSMEs.

Haiti is one of the Bank’s newest member countries, having joined the Bank in 2007.