Ouedraogo Alidou, 38, provides for a family of 13 people. Setting-up a business in food and dietary supplies his native village Koudougou helped to bear the financial pressure. Yet, the limitations of the village became more apparent over time, as more money was needed to pay for school tuition and food, while taking out loans is frowned upon in the community. Ouedraogo thus decided to move to the capital Ouagadougou, where he hoped there would be more opportunity. In the capital, he became acquainted with the Première Agence de MicroFinance Burkina Faso, which now operates both in the village and in Ouagadougou, and decided to apply for a loan to invest in his business.
Never having dealt with a microfinance agency, he was disappointed in the FCFA 500,000 ($830) he was first awarded, which only covered the costs to move the business to Ouagadougou. He still had to find new suppliers and new customers. However, his strong reputation among his existing clients and suppliers encouraged him to go ahead with the move, and the loan provided him with financial security.
As of today, Ouedraogo has received fours loans through PAMF-Burkina Faso. As he is a reliable client who fulfils every repayment, the amount he has been able to borrow has increased to FCFA1.5 million ($2,500). With these loans, Ouedraogo has diversified his dietary product lines and introduced new varieties. He has also hired eight people, five of whom work in the nutrition sector and three who work alongside him in the main store.
While his expenses have increased as he sends his children to school and invests in a better home, his income has tripled to FCFA 90,000,000, allowing him to also save more. Ouedraogo has bought his own plots of land and built houses in the village and in Ouagadougou, allowing his children to go to better schools in the capital. In addition, he has been investing in his community, helping out his extended family and neighbors whenever they face financial hardship or other issues.
For example, he has hired one of his neighbour’s children to work with him. He has also set an example to other business owners by insuring his shops, which also gives him peace of mind. While the initial loan might have not met his expectations, microfinance has made a world of difference for his business and his family’s quality of life. He plans to borrow more in the future to further invest in his business and set up credit facilities in order to process the large numbers of orders. He also aims to set up a wholesale store, and a loan will allow him to further diversify his product range and choose new supply sources. “The microfinance loans will allow me to take advantage of new business opportunities,” he says.