Specific solutions for SMEs
CEO of Societe Generale Group
Africa is a continent of opportunity undergoing a full-scale revolution. On top of the fantastic energy of Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, we are convinced that growth in Africa will initially come from the private sector and that it is vital that all economic players, including French and African SMEs and mid-cap companies, get on board.
Knowing the importance of the role SMEs play in the sustainable growth of a country, Societe Generale Group is a key partner of initiatives aimed at supporting the development of African SMEs on the continent but also at accompanying French SMEs in Africa.
AFD is France’s inclusive public development bank. AFD commits financing and technical assistance to projects that genuinely improve everyday life, both in developing and emerging countries and in the French overseas provinces.
In keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, AFD works in many sectors - energy, healthcare, biodiversity, water, digital technology, professional training, among others - to assist with transitions towards a safer, more equitable, and more sustainable world.
Among the latest partnerships:
- In Africa, Societe Generale is still the first user of AFD’s risk-sharing mechanism, ARIZ, with a EUR 150 M exposure by the end of 2020 in 12 countries.
This solution facilitate the access to credit of SMEs and VSMEs. More than 100 individual guarantees were approved in 2020 and 4 portfolio guarantees signed, among which for the 1st time, in Mozambique, for a EUR 3 M line in Mozambique targeting women & agriculture.
- Signature with Proparco of the first of its kind Risk Sharing Trade Finance Facility covering African SMEs payment risk. SG Côte d’Ivoire was chosen as pilot for this “product”, with a EUR 15m portfolio guarantee envelope, to strengthen its support to importing Ivorian SMEs.
- Société Générale Burkina Faso signed an agreement with PROPARCO for a EUR 25m loan, thus increasing the bank's capacity to finance the national economy, especially the SME sector.
The European Investment Bank has committed credit facilities amounting to 40 million EUR in favour of Societe Generale in Chad, Congo and Cameroun to support the financing of SMEs.
Societe Generale Ghana and the International Finance Corporation - a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries - have entered into a 50 million USD loan agreement dedicated to finance Ghanaian SMEs.
Bpifrance is a public investment bank, which supports companies in their development through the investment and expertise. In partnership with private players, Bpifrance acts for the development of environmental technologies, biotechnologies and digital, but also for all industrial and service sectors, particularly for the development of the social and solidarity economy and social innovation.
Since September 2013, Societe Generale and Bpifrance have been involved in a partnership agreement aimed at encouraging and supporting the international growth of French companies.
This agreement highlights the complementary nature of Bpifrance and Societe Generale's international expertise, particularly in Africa. It is based on strong actions to facilitate the export and internationalization of French companies, in particular the provision of consulting, co-financing and guarantee services with the Bpifrance range of products, as well as Societe Generale’s expertise and facilities in the field of Trade Finance.
Societe Generale and Bpifrance also organise joint business missions in countries where the Bank is present to accompany French SMEs to originate potential agreements of commercial contracts.
In September 2017, Societe Generale and Bpifrance signed a new partnership agreement aimed at promoting the development of French Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Intermediate Enterprises (ETI) in Africa. The two institutions committed to jointly provide complementary advice, links and e-learning devices to French SMEs and midcaps with development projects on the African market.
At the same time, the two players participate together in projects that contribute to the development of key sectors, such as green energy or the agro-industrial sector in Africa.
SUPPORTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICAN SMEs
Small and medium-sized enterprises are at the heart of the development process of African economies. They represent 90% of private companies and they hire 70% of the rural population. They are therefore unavoidable, especially in the emergence of the African middle class and broad access to employment.
For Societe Generale, African SMEs represent 2/3 of its corporate clientele. The Bank must adapt its systems to support them more effectively and thus better participate in their growth.
Contributing to the dynamism of the African economic fabric by developing access to financing and support for African small and medium-sized enterprises is Societe Generale's ambition. It translates into a significant growth objective in credit outstanding to African SMEs.
How to achieve it?
Multidimensional support for managers
In partnership with various players supporting the development of SMEs, such as AFD-Proparco, Bpifrance, Investors & Partners or the Réseau Entreprendre and local actors in each country, Societe Generale wants to launch an initiative to unite strengths for the benefit of SMEs.
Access to finance must be made simple: helping SMEs structure their efforts to obtain financing, give them access to complete resources, covering all financing channels, help them train themselves to develop their activity... These are the challenges of multidimensional and coordinated support between all players.
For all that, Societe Generale has already set up cooperations:
- AFD-Proparco and the ARIZ guarantee concerning 12 of the Group's African entities, with with a EUR 150 M exposure by the end of 2020, Societe Generale is still the first user of AFD’s risk-sharing mechanism on the continent;
- Bpifrance University, which has put online trainings dedicated to business managers in Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal;
- Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P);
- ADPME in Senegal;
- Upgrade Office in Senegal;
- or the Réseau Entreprendre (cooperation in Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia).
Maison de la PME: an example of cooperation for SME development
The concept of Maison de la PME (SME House) is a multi-dimensional approach to support the needs of SME managers. Societe Generale brings together in a single space international players such as Réseau Entreprendre, AFD-Proparco, Investors & Partners, Bpifrance, and local ones, such as ADPME, the Bureau de Mise à Niveau (Upgrading Office) and APIX, in Senegal for instance.
All these organisations cooperate to remove the main obstacles to the creation and development of companies: by providing accounting, technical or legal expertise, by providing advice, training, monitoring or awareness on environmental and social issues, and by studying financing solutions at all stages of the company's life cycle.
Societe Generale dedicates specialised SME advisers and each partner has its own desk to provide its expertise. This model, which is also based on mentoring from the Group's employees, was duplicated in 7 Societe Generale subsidiaries in Africa (in Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Cameroon and Madagascar).).
Facilitate access to finance: make credit granting process more efficient
The Group has launched numerous in-house projects with the commercial, risk and organisational sectors to quickly review its processes and its SME offer and adapt its operations to the less formal aspect of African SMEs.
In addition, to encourage the development of innovative and backed-up financing, Societe Generale will deploy its leasing offerings and design dedicated factoring solutions for SMEs, which will be offered by all its locations.
Finally the Bank will rely more on the guarantees of the International Financial Institutions.
Societe Generale is also involved with small businesses in the informal sector, through an active financial inclusion approach, including through cooperations in the field of microfinance.
To go further
On October 18, Global Finance magazine announced the winners of the second edition of the SME Bank Awards 2023.
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