CDB, partners kick off project to support micro and small enterprises in Haiti

A project has been launched to give female and male entrepreneurs in Haiti better opportunities to grow their businesses.  The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Inter-American Development Bank, Global Affairs Canada and Desjardins International (DID) of Canada have partnered to increase access to business loans, saving products, and services for micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in Haiti.  The project, launched on June 17, will support Le Levier Fédération—a network of savings and credit cooperatives— in establishing a specialised MSE Finance Unit.

Peter Blackman, Portfolio Manager and Guillermo Aguilar Rios, Operations Officer of the Private Sector Development Unit at CDB visited Haiti to participate in the launch of the project.  The Bank’s funding will specifically focus on underserved and unserved MSEs on the island.

“Providing credit and savings support for MSEs will contribute to enterprise growth and sustainability, while improving the living and economic conditions of several rural householders in Haiti, who otherwise would experience financial exclusion” said Blackman. 

The new unit to be established under the project will follow the Affiliated Center for Financial Entrepreneurs (CFE) model developed by DID.  The CFE will provide relevant financial products and services to the MSE sector, through the network of cooperatives.  Under the new model, the Center will make a recommendation based on a request from MSEs, while the savings and credit cooperatives (Caisses Populaires) ultimately grant the loan and bear the credit risk.

The Project titled, “Support for the Establishment of a Specialised Micro and Small Business Financing Assessment Unit, within the Le Levier Fédération” has an investment of USD3.04 million, which includes a loan component of USD500,000 for onlending to first-tier savings and credit cooperatives within the Le Levier network that utilise the CFE model for the financing of MSEs.  The remaining resources will be used to support the establishment and implementation of the CFE model within participating financial cooperatives.  CDB has committed up to USD500,000, which will focus on financing activities related to the establishment of CFEs in the north and south of Haiti among the participating cooperatives.

During the mission, Project stakeholders visited the city of Les Cayes, where a launch to introduce the CFE South of Haiti took place. Five savings and credit cooperatives participated: Caisse Populaire du Sud (CAPOSUD); Caisse Populaire Sainte-Anne de Camp-Perrin (CAPOSAC); Caisse populaire de la Cote Sud; Caisse Populaire Union Cavaillonnaise; and Caisse Populaire Sainte-Rose de Maniche.

In addition, the team participated in site visits to observe and better understand the operations of CAPOSUD and CAPOSAC.  While in Les Cayes, the team also attended the inaugural Steering Committee Meeting.

After the Project Launch, the delegation traveled to the city of Cap Haïtien, where a visit to CFE Grand Nord took place.  CFE Grand Nord was the first CFE established in Haiti in November 2017.  While in Cap Haïtien, the stakeholders took the opportunity to visit two entrepreneurs benefitting from CFE Grand Nord.

CDB’s participation in the MSE-targeted Project will provide an opportunity for increasing its outreach to small enterprises in Haiti, as well as determining how the CFE tool can be utilised in other Borrowing Member Countries.  The Project was approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors in 2016.