Angola - A bright future ahead for entrepreneurial women in angola
The local association Angolan Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (FMEA) in partnership with the World Vision NGO, the Banco Sol bank and Total, launched the Entrepreneurial Women of Porto Amboim scheme. The aim is to broaden women’s skill-sets and encourage them to build businesses in the region.
Located on the Angolan coast in the province of Cuanda Sul, 250 kilometres south of Luanda, Porto Amboim is one of the country’s four major fishing ports. Ana Cazenga Cafrenca sold her first dried fish there 19 years ago. Today, as a beneficiary of the “Entrepreneurial Women of Angola” scheme, she shares her story with us.
In 2013 as a single mother of five children with no financial support, she experienced severe professional difficulties that threatened to bring her restaurant and dried fish business tumbling down.
She heard about the scheme through the FMEA. The first two-week training session gave her the keys to managing the finances for both her business and household.
Ana soon reaped the rewards of applying what she had learnt.
In 2015, the Banco Sol bank granted her a loan of 150,000 kwanzas (equivalent to €754 and roughly ten times the average Angolan minimum-wage salary), which she was able to pay back in just a year. Since then, her business has grown stronger and stronger, and Ana now runs three different companies.
The training allowed her to:
• reopen the restaurant she runs with the help of one employee;
• open a bakery with two members of staff;
• increase fish and meat sales.“It was the most life-changing training I’ve experienced,” she explains. Ana ploughed her professional successes back into her personal life, and was able to finish building and furnishing her house. She had a water tank installed as well as a new bathroom. Ana’s revenue means she can feed her family a healthier diet. She has even managed to save a total of 15,000 kwanzas.
Creating the right conditions for fostering entrepreneurship
“The training course taught me a lot, but the most helpful thing was learning how to save. That’s the foundation of my business” she notes. Seven months after reopening her restaurant, there was a break-in on the premises, and thanks to the money she had saved, she was able land back on her feet.
Ana isn’t the only one who this scheme designed to bolster enterprise has helped. Her group encompassed over 25 women. In the province, several hundred women have already followed the trainings funded by Total and run by World Vision, in fields as varied as community leadership, corporate culture, sales skills, marketing techniques and developing business plans.
“All of us in my training group got along very well, and it’s a great help to know you’re not alone, that others have had a similar experience,” Ana explains, going on to proudly add that the World Vision trainers had said her group was the scheme’s most organized.
Ambitious plans for the future
When we asked Ana to share her favorite memory since the beginning of this adventure, she replies that there are too many to count: “It’s the whole package: I can’t thank the trainers enough for everything they’ve done for me, everything they’ve given to me.”
Ambitious, Ana plans on buying her own boat, which she wants to use for fishing and selling her fish. She hopes to turn this dream into reality with support from the FMEA and partners, drawing on the new training modules due to be launched soon.
I feel completely different to when I first started out down this path. Before, my situation weighed down on me. Now I feel lighter and safer.