Empowering SMEs in West Africa

Banking & Finance
| The European | 21 July 2021

An interview with Abdoulaye K. Sory, CEO of Fidelis Finance  

Established in 1998, Fidelis Finance (Fidelis) is Burkina Faso’s leading financial leasing company. Alongside leasing, the firm also specialises in factoring, credit and surety. Fidelis’ share capital of 6bn CFA francs ($10.91) is held by institutional and private shareholders.

With a presence in Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast, Fidelis provides a range of products that supports companies, mainly SMEs, in financing their projects. The finance is delivered through leasing, factoring and other products and services that meet the ongoing operational needs of businesses. 

The European caught up with Abdoulaye K. Sory, CEO of Fidelis Finance, to learn more about the company’s strategy, and how it is standing by its customers through the Covid crisis. 

Fidelis Finance has been operating for 20 years, what is the foundation of the company’s success?  

Over the last two decades we have worked with many successful entrepreneurs and are proud of the important role we play in the longevity of their companies – this inspires us to continue innovating. Knowing that both large companies and SMEs trust Fidelis to finance their projects generates the confidence to develop new products and embrace the changes shaping the financial services arena. Our relationships are built on trust and loyalty and we make it our business to deliver the vital capital required by businesses to grow. 

Over the last year, we have expanded our range of financial products, and also opened a branch in the Ivory Coast as part of our strategy to capture new market segments abroad. Therefore, despite the challenges of the health crisis, Fidelis has continued to contribute to the Burkinabè and Ivorian financial sector, constantly improving the access that SMEs have to vital finance. Obviously none of this can be achieved without an expert and dedicated team, and I believe that the recruitment and training at Fidelis Finance is second to none. 

Explain more about the products Fidelis delivers for SMEs in West Africa. 

One of our main objectives is to offer SMEs versatile and flexible financial products to ensure we meet their specific needs. There is no “one size fits all” in business, and our products reflect this. We are here to support the growth of SMEs, and base our success on how effectively we achieve this. As SMEs grow, they need new tools, equipment, and premises. So, with all of our leasing experience, plus our knowledge of the market, we are able to ensure that they don’t stand still as a business. We keep SMEs moving forwards.  

In what ways has the Covid crisis impacted SMEs across the region?  

Like everywhere around the world, countries in the West African Monetary and Economic Union (WAEMU) have adopted strict measures to stop the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, many of the protective measures have impacted SMEs. Depending on the type of company, productivity has been badly hit. Whether its reductions in working hours due to curfews, closure of hotels and leisure venues, changes in consumer habits and limits imposed on cross-border trade and border closures, SMEs have had to draw on all of their resources. And, as SMEs constitute the very economic fabric of the WAEMU region, this is a situation leaders must watch extremely closely.  

How has Fidelis supported its customers during this challenging period?

We play a vital role in ensuring business continuity, which is essential in times of crisis. To achieve this, our teams have made it their priority, across all of the countries in which we operate, to guarantee continued support to our customers. A number of necessary measures have been implemented, including ​​deferral of repayments and rapid disbursement of finance. It should also be noted that Fidelis Finance has significantly participated in efforts to fight the pandemic through financial contributions to the Burkinabè and Ivorian governments.

The future of West Africa’s developing economies depends heavily on the dynamism of SMEs. These are challenging times indeed, but the challenges are not insurmountable if we unite and act as one. Through its financing activities, Fidelis will remain committed to SMEs, and continue to meet their financing requirements. This way, we all grow together.

Further information 

www.fidelis-finance.com

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