Just a few days after International Women's Day, Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. is working on a new project to empower female entrepreneurs around the world.
Coke is teaming up with the International Finance Corp., a member of the World Bank Group, which will provide $100 million in financing over three years to female members of the supply chain who are key to Coke's ability to sell beverages in more than 200 countries.
The idea is to correct an inherent imbalance in emerging economies in Africa and elsewhere. While women have major impact on these markets, they often have much less access to financing than men, Nathan Kalumbu, president of Coke's Istanbul-based Eurasia and Africa Group, said in a news release.
The new initiative is aligned with Coke's existing project, 5by20, which aims to provide assistance to 5 million women in the company's "value chain," which can include direct employees as well as those involved in helping get Coke's brands to market. Coke's system, including bottlers, directly employs about 700,000 people.
While 5by20 has work in 12 countries, the new project with the IFC has begun in Nigeria, with the finance organization providing loans to small-scale distributors.