Yapeco had prepared the five entrepreneurs thoroughly for their individual consultation. Augustine came at 8.00 am. She wants to expand her poultry farm from 600 hens to 3000 hens and add chicken-breeding to her business. Augustine, who is also the wife of Yapeco, opened the meeting the Congolese way by saying a prayer. Prayer is always near at hand and natural to the Congolese. Augustine will not receive as much as she has applied for. My friends, ”knallarna”, had to reduce the amounts of the loans for some of the entrepreneurs for different reasons. The assessments of the loan applications were made in the fall, and at that time we informed everybody of the sizes of their granted loans. The sum total of the loans for all ten entrepreneurs is $ 29 000. The entrepreneurs have divided themselves into two groups of five, and each group has elected a chairperson, a vice chairperson and a secretary. The chairperson will gather the group once a month and put together follow-ups and reports to post our website.
On the agenda were nine items: going-over of the completed budgets and adjustments, the detailed descriptions of the investment (what will the loan be used for), the liquidity budget, the promissory note, the personal guarantee and its regulations, the repayment plan, bank issues and any other business.
Muditu was next in turn at 10.00 am. Unfortunately, he had misunderstood the size of the loan, even though we had been very clear. Everybody has received information, both verbally and in writing, about their loans and the attached terms. Muditu grows manioc, peanuts, soybeans and vegetables. He needs a car to get to the market on time and in a reasonable way. He is extending his fields to 8 hectare, and they are located about 20 kilometers from the town.
After lunch we met with Damas. He is a farmer, too, and owns an area of 4 hectares in Kimbala as a complement to his work in the Church. Besides business, we talked about the friend relation between Baobab Church and the Covenant Churches of Blidsberg and Hökerum. The global group responsible for the friend relation will meet on Saturday afternoon.
At 3.00 pm Jean Pierre came. He has bought a lorry in Germany and he needs funds to pay the cost of transportation to Congo. He has been granted the largest loan, but even so, he only gets half of what he applied for. He will receive a loan of $ 7000. At the meeting with the bank we will call attention to his situation. The bank should make a contribution the size of ours.
The last entrepreneur we met this day was Axel. He will start a poultry farm on a small scale, as a complement to his work in the Kiamvu Church. He won´t have to start from scratch though. His predecessor had chickens and some of the equipment is already in place.
It is easy to work together with Yapeco, our man in Matadi and with Julienne, our interpreter. After a few meetings, Bernt and I don´t have to say much. They take over and we won´t have to bother the entrepreneurs with our Swedish. It all gets much more efficient. We just hand over the documentation and they explain everything. I had time to create a formula in Excel that converts the interest for the duration of the loan into flat-rate interest, making the repayments easier for the entrepreneurs as all part-payments will be the same amount. Also, we had time to do some custom-made solutions with the Excel formula.
Among the youth of Congo, there are many promising future entrepreneurs. If you make a stop in a village, right away at least ten girls and boys approach you, offering to sell you fruit and vegetables from the rich nature and fields of Congo. They are persistent, and if they can´t make you buy their products one way, they will try another way until they succeed. The whole procedure is spiced with joy and a lot of energy. If you added an education in economy and planning, Congo would get the best entrepreneurs in the world. This is probably the way Congo could progress, what do you think? Please write me a comment!