Fragile states are challenging for all. But never underestimate the contribution of their local entrepreneurs. Given the right support, they find ways to build successful businesses that create jobs, provide essential services, and make an impact.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an inspired young physician, Dr. Guy Bandu, teamed with two partners to found Kinshasa’s only medical rescue service, SOS Médecins de Nuit. It now treats more than 10,000 patients a year, delivering 24/7 service at international standards. It provides modern diagnostic and surgical services—still a rarity in the DRC—and responds to emergency house calls. Its goals: saving some lives, improving many others.
Médecins de Nuit received $850,000 from the IFC-backed Central Africa SME Fund, much-needed capital it used to expand surgical and preventive-care services and build new in-patient wards. The $19.5 million fund is part of the global SME Ventures initiative IFC launched with private fund managers and other investors in 2008—a new approach to financing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in fragile, post-conflict, and frontier markets.
Read more: ifc.org/africa
IFC’s global SME Ventures program has now invested in more than 70 high-growth SMEs like Médecins de Nuit, creating more than 9,500 jobs.