The Ecobank Group (ecobank.com) in partnership with the African Union Development Agency NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) are working to develop some 100,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) on the country with a seed fund of US$2 million.
The initiative, set to launch its financing component as from 27 May 2021, is designed to accelerate African economic transformation by providing the beneficiary organizations with the needed skills to build resilience against the economic shock triggered by the Covis-19 pandemic.
A joint statement from the two parties said the ‘100,000 MSMEs’ initiative would ultimately build the capacities of 1,000,000 enterprises in Africa through entrepreneurial and business training to improve access to finance and new markets while establishing networks for support and incubation to bolster their success.
“Across the globe, MSMEs are the biggest and the best engine of innovation, social transformation and economic development and growth. AUDA-NEPAD is deeply convinced that Africa structural transformation will be driven by youth and women led businesses and innovations,” said Amine Idriss Adoum AUDA-NEPAD, Director of Programme Delivery & Coordination Directorate.
AUDA-NEPAD and the Ecobank Group announced their collaboration in May 2020 and agreed to tackle three main pillars to support MSMEs come out of the devastating economic impact of COVID-19.
The three key areas are MSME Academy, MSME Finance and MSME Marketplace. The MSME Academy was launched in August 2020 in 8 countries, including Ghana.
Ecobank and AUDA-NEPAD will now proceed to launch the MSME Finance pillar in the same countries, namely Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Togo, and extend US$2 million in the form of working capital to beneficiaries who meet the set criteria across the eight (8) countries in this first phase.
“After an unprecedented year in 2020, the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across African economies with an increased and urgent need to support MSMEs Businesses which are the backbone of our economies. As a financial institution, we reaffirm our commitment to support the ‘100,000 MSMEs’ initiative. Following the successful launch of the MSME Academy, we are now going ahead with the financing component. We look forward to celebrating the businesses who will successfully go through this training program and who will meet the criteria for financial support,” said Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Ecobank Group Executive Commercial Banking.
Objectives of the 100,000 MSME Finance
- Expand the reach of the 100,000 MSMEs initiative to youth across the continent and enable linkages into the wider entrepreneurship ecosystem that benefit the youth after training;
- Generate relevant data on MSMEs to enhance evidence-based policy recommendations to AU decision bodies as well as facilitate engagement with ecosystem partners such as financiers and links to trade and markets; and,
- Enable bottom-up engagement with youth and women entrepreneurs to ensure that youth and gender development policies benefit from their voice and participation as citizens of the continent.
MSMEs can now register here https://ecobank.com/gh/commercial-banking/msmefinancing. Registrations close on 21 May 2021.