Welcome to the ÉLAN RDC (“DRC Momentum” in French) monthly newsletter! 

Designed to increase the income of over 1 million poor smallholder producers, entrepreneurs and consumers, ÉLAN RDC is a UK Aid market systems development project tackling the root causes of market failures and constraints to inclusive growth in the DRC.

We work with the private sector to design, pilot and scale new business models that increase income, create jobs and lower prices for the poorest.

Please enjoy the updates from the different sectors where we work.

Sector updates

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
Teaching the benefits of solar through participatory theater
One of ELAN RDC’s partners in the renewable energy sector, Dev Solaire, recently launched an awareness campaign in schools. The campaign reaching 11 schools (5 in Kolwezi and 6 in Lubumbashi) targets 5th and 6th grades teaching students about the benefits of solar lamps, with the aim of also reaching their parents.

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The use of a participatory theater troupe during the students’ recreation makes the campaign unique and actively engages the students to explain what is solar energy.

Following the participatory theater event, the 5th and 6th-grade students will have a turn to take a sample lamp home for a one-day test, allowing 1,300 targeted families to each be able to test a lamp. Parents who have tested the lamp will complete an appraisal sheet with their contact information if they are interested in purchasing a lamp.

To follow up on the campaign, ELAN RDC’s Monitoring & Results Measurement (MRM) team will carry out an analysis of the impact resulting from the increased awareness in families having tested the lamp, the families of primary school children in general, as well as their close networks

SME FINANCE:
Catalysing the start-up ecosystem
Ingenious City is a business incubation and co-working space supported by ÉLAN RDC that will host various start-ups. It is an open platform where entrepreneurs will receive high-quality training and mentoring while connecting with other entrepreneurs and different actors within the entrepreneurial ecosystem in DRC as well as abroad.

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The founders of Ingenious City are three successful businessmen that are teaming up with a number of existing incubators in Kinshasa to provide a world-class physical space within the Procoki complex. Their goal is to become a reference point for the local startup ecosystem as well as for foreign investors seeking to know more about the opportunities within DRC.

ÉLAN RDC is providing Ingenious City with technical assistance and capacity building to contribute to the sustainability of the project. Providing entrepreneurs with the right tools will increase their probability of success while demonstrating to young Congolese that entrepreneurship is a valuable and a viable option. 

Ingenious City is also the new Seedstars ambassador for DRC and ÉLAN RDC will be working with them to make the 2018 edition of this exciting competition a success. Please follow IngeniousCity on all social media as well as on their website: www.IngeniousCity.com !

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TRANSPORT:
Financing a more productive Congo River
ELAN recently organised a workshop with five local banks, aimed at presenting the business opportunities in the Congolese river transport sector. The workshop drew on ELAN’s three years of experience supporting financial institutions with product design for a sector that is both vital for Congo’s economy, but also considered very high-risk. The workshop included discussion of the lessons learned from ELAN RDC’s collaboration with ProCredit Bank, which began in 2015 to help develop financial products specifically designed to meet the needs of river transportation actors, as well as identify sector-specific risk indicators. The tailored financial products developed as part of the partnership met actors’ working capital needs as well as some of their need for further investment.

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BRANCHLESS BANKING:
Financial inclusion for refugees?
ELAN RDC has been working with humanitarian and private-sector partners on a mobile money cash transfer program for refugees. This initiative is the first field pilot resulting from ELAN RDC’s branchless banking markets in crisis strategy developed at a January 2018 workshop in Katanga and publicly shared during the March 2018 forum in Kinshasa on private-sector solutions for the humanitarian market in DRC. If fully implemented, refugees would receive a cellphone and SIM card and instead of receiving cash transfers receive mobile money. They would then be able to make purchases at local vendors who are set up to accept mobile money. The goal of the intervention is to prove that refugees can become steady mobile money users, leading to a more efficient ecosystem in the long-term, and expanding financial inclusion for some of the most vulnerable populations.

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AGRICULTURE (SPECIALTY CROPS):
Raising Congolese coffee’s profile globally
In concert with ELAN RDC’s Nadine Lusi’s effort as the Steering Committee Coordinator, the Specialty Crops team has been busy planning this year’s Saveur du Kivu, DRC’s premier coffee cupping competition and industry forum that attracts global buyers and brings public and private-sector actors, including producers, together in Bukavu each year.

ELAN RDC’s East regional manager, Roland Muhima, represented the project and partners at the 2018 Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Expo in Seattle, one of the global coffee industry’s most important events. After making introductions between partners and major buyers and sharing opportunities within DRC’s flourishing coffee industry, we hope to see more buyers at Saveur du Kivu thanks to ELAN’s representation in Seattle.

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AGRICULTURE (GRAINS & HORTICULTURE):
Selling improved maize seeds in the Equateur region
PROSAVIDE (Promotion, Santé, Vivre, Infrastructure pour Demain), has sold nearly 10 tons of improved seed this season in and around the northern Congolese town of Lisala. In partnership with ELAN RDC, PROSAVIDE has been implementing an intervention in Lisala. PROSAVIDE was selling improved seed through nine shops, but with ELAN’s support, changed its product line and its sales model, adopting a marketing scheme including a mobile sales force, demonstration fields, improved signage and radio spots and now sells through 30 shops. Based on the initial pilot, farmers using PROSAVIDE’s seeds, coupled with Good Agricultural Practices, can expect to approximately double their previous yields.

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