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news | June 04, 2013 | Côte d'Ivoire | Rehabilitation

Auto-entrepreneurship is fruitful for Ivorian economy

Tra Lou supports her family's needs thanks to her fruit and onion stand in Yopougon. © ACTED

The post-electoral crisis in Cote d'Ivoire resulted in a radical decline of the economy, and an important inflation of commodity prices. ACTED, in Cote d’Ivoire since 2011, launched a project aiming to reduce the negative consequences of the economic crisis on food security and on the livelihoods of the poorest households of Abidjan. This project started in June 2012 and targeted 1,600 vulnerable households that could start over their previous income-generating activity. Tra Lou and Camara are two women who benefited from ACTED and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department’s support.

Early in the morning, the heart of the vulnerable municipality of Abobo in Abidjan slowly starts beating. In front of their fruit and vegetable stalls, vendors are already selling to their first clients. In the middle of these little wooden tables used for presentation purposes, one can find Camara’s stall. A few clicks south in the Yopougon neighborhood, Tra Lou is arranging her oranges before starting her day. These different every-day scenes seem normal at first sight, but the situation has not always been so easy for these two women.

The economic crisis has resulted in a radical decrease of the economy and especially in the shortage of liquidities. In parallel, the price of basic commodities has seen a radical increase (up to 200%). 94% of the people used to take part in an income-generating activity before the crisis of 2011, shrinking to about 54% of the people after it.

Tomato-selling as a way of living

In Abobo, Camara has been able to start her business again thanks to ACTED’s help and can now sell her tomatoes at the local market. She earns about 5,000 FCFA (7.5 euros) per week and her entire profit is injected in food, rent and other household needs. Her family can have two meals per day since ACTED’s intervention. But being far from her suppliers, she loses some of her supply in the transport of her goods and cannot always be present at her stall as she has to spend time for household chores.

Tra Lou, a successful entrepreneur

Tra Lou is mother of two children and lives with her unemployed husband in the heart of the Yopougon Koweit quarter. She is a warm, welcoming, and successful fruit seller and proposes affordable prices to her clients. She can convince them and encourage their loyalty. After ACTED’s intervention, Tra Lou now earns an average of 15,000 FCFA (23 Euros) per week, covering her household expenses of a total of 7,000 FCFA par week (around 11 Euros). She has also managed to save around 50,000 FCFA (75 Euros) on her mobile money account that enables her to transfer money directly on her mobile phone, and she can foresee the next six months with more hope. Her family also has three meals per day, which was not the case before the project started. Thanks to the profits made by her business and ACTED’s support, Tra Lou now sells onions. The diversification of her products also guarantees the good health of her small business.

ACTED’s intervention has thus profited to these two households, as well as 1,598 others, and provided the necessary support to increase their capacity for resilience.