Christine Sesay – Financial education in support of women’s entrepreneurship

Christine Sesay is president of Africa’s Money Preneur. A financial education platform created in Sierra Leone to “make a difference”. With a background in finance, Christine Sesay, originally from Sierra Leone, lived and worked for about ten years in Europe as an accountant before returning to the African continent. This “repatriated”, as they are now called, wanted to be useful. 

“I came back to work with an NGO. I started in Niger where I stayed for almost three years, before coming home to Sierra Leone.”

An already fragile country on the brink of a widespread Ebola epidemic which will kill nearly 4,000 people between 2014 and 2016, out of more than 14,000 reported cases, according to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics. Throughout this period, Christine would remain in the country, regardless of the crisis.

“Sierra Leone is my home. I was devastated to see how things got worse in such a short time once the disease infiltrated the country. Leaving it then would have been the easy way out. How could I justify this to my children?”

“In 2016, I decided it was time to think differently. Different in the sense that in all the countries I had visited, I had seen women struggling with how to conduct business. With the Ebola outbreak, many companies, many middle-class people, simply left. The economy was in shambles. Most entrepreneurs had a hard time surviving.”

In this unfavorable context, the idea of Africa’s Money Preneur was born.

“It is a platform that teaches effective financial strategies to support the lifestyle women entrepreneurs. They need to be taught about money and finances,” says Christine. I wanted to create a framework within which to help women better plan their budget. While the problem of access to financing is not limited to women, it is women who face the most obstacles, according to Christine. In particular for management reasons. “A problem more African than it is female”. Women do not really know what to spend their money on. Often, they do not even have bank accounts. And when they get funding, the money is mismanaged. But if an investor was interested in their idea, he would ultimately be reluctant because of the lack of visibility as to the company’s financial management. This is where our platform comes into play. Africa’s Money Preneur helps with the day-to-day running of these entities.”

“Currently, we manage the accounts of about 50 women. Together with our clients, we have achieved significant progress after a year. In what ways have we empowered them to make better financial decisions? Our platform has helped business leaders understand and break down processes, step by step. That is the ultimate goal in order to obtain funds.”

A goal which echoes that of the Women In Africa (WIA) Initiative.

“That is why I applied for Program 54, and was shortlisted to participate in the Marrakesh Summit. It was exciting to meet exceptional women entrepreneurs doing so many different things in other countries. I am amazed at the number of qualified women and the way they are committed to doing what they do. I think this was a major opportunity for collaboration.”

After WIA 54

Christine Sesay and Ene Otse Unoogwu , both laureate from the WIA 54 2018 program, respectively from Sierra Leone and Nigeria, met on the last WIA Summit in september 2018, and then, co-founded a new company called Smartagri.

Smartagri is a social for profit  agribusiness company that is focused on the development of africa’s agriculture with a holistic approach, aiming to ensure food security for the continent. The objective of the company is to evolve agriculture from subsistence to viable businesses, especially for the benefit of the smallholders farmers.

It offers a holistic solution from land preparation through to harvest and markets, leveraging on technology with a sustainable platform. It’s a  bundling of various products & services, each product will utilize value from each other to create as part of a safety net for farmers.