Nene Pongo Nzila was one of the first clients to take out a new loan product launched by FINCA in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo). The product, Juste Pour Elle (Just for Her), offers Congolese women entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their businesses and build wealth. With an interest rate that is 2 percent lower than the normal loan rate and a grace period before repayments, Juste Pour Elle makes it easier for Congolese women to access the capital they need.
Nene joined FINCA in 2016. Like so many FINCA clients, Nene is just a natural entrepreneur at whatever she tries her hand. Her primary business is selling beans in Kinshasa, the DR Congo’s sprawling capital city, but she also owns a small warehouse and a car she uses as a taxi.
With FINCA’s help, her businesses grew over the years, but she ran into one major problem. While her existing loans enabled her to buy beans wholesale in neighboring Uganda, she was unable to travel there personally to negotiate the price and delivery terms. She relied on friends and other intermediaries instead. But, especially during the COVID pandemic, that led to frequent supply interruptions, and she began to lose customers.
And that’s when she learned about FINCA’s Juste Pour Elle loans. The lower interest rate allowed her to nearly double the size of her existing loan. Nene explains what happened next:
I could now travel by myself to Kampala in Uganda and buy the stocks of beans while checking the quality and ensuring they were packed properly. I could also negotiate the prices and get a reduction from my suppliers. … My sales have increased and my repayments are going well. In fact, I’ve resumed my monthly savings that I’ve stopped due to the COVID crisis. I was also able to buy a new car, thanks to 6 months of increased profits. Now my transport business has increased from one to two taxi cars that are further increasing my monthly profit.
Nene’s great experience with loans has made her a real-life ambassador for FINCA DR Congo and she has recommended several women who have since become FINCA clients. FINCA DR Congo is offering Juste Pour Elle across all its branches in the country to ensure that as many women as possible have a chance to build their dreams like Nene.