Risk capital and management training are hard to find in frontier markets like the Democratic Republic of Congo, blocking promising start-ups’ growth. It’s a critical gap that IFC helps fill, enabling Kinshasa entrepreneurs Annie Kwangu and Huguette Bakekolo to build their country’s first independent call center.
With $520,000 from our SME Ventures initiative, created for just these kinds of challenges, the Congo Call Center upgraded its technology and built a skilled new workforce. Our Business Edge program then provided training support, and today the center’s young, multilingual staff have steady jobs, serving top clients like Samsung and Orange.
“These young people, who would often be unemployed or working odd jobs, can now look forward to a true career,” Huguette says.
Congo Call Center’s growth has been so impressive that this year it secured a commercial loan from Rawbank, DRC’s largest bank and an IFC client.
In fiscal 2015, IFC invested more than $600 million in fragile and conflict-affected areas.