The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has announced an initiative aimed at providing robust and comprehensive financing solutions to support and boost activities of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) across Africa.
A statement from the bank yesterday, explained that the financing initiative would be powered by UBA’s recent partnership with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat to provide financing for up to $6 billion over the next three years to eligible SMEs across Africa, an agreement which was signed on the sidelines of the 30th Afreximbank Annual Meeting (AAM) which was held in Accra, Ghana.
Through the initiative, UBA would be giving SMEs the opportunity to access financing for small businesses that specialise in the key sectors of agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, automotive and Transport and Logistics.
By the agreement, UBA and AfCFTA agreed to promote the development of SMEs operating in four sectors under the first phase of the partnership which are largely import dependent, by providing technical and financing solutions for intra-African/domestic alternatives. The economic sectors are agro-processing, automotive, pharmaceuticals, transport and logistics.
The Deputy Managing Director of UBA, Muyiwa Akinyemi, who signed the agreement on behalf of the bank, noted that being Africa’s global bank, UBA was committed to supporting the growth/development of SMEs across Africa.
“This is in line with our strategic focus on the SME segment being a catalyst for the economic development of Africa.
“Under this partnership, UBA will go beyond just financing to provide non-financial services to these SMEs to develop the capacity for growth across the 20 African countries that we are present and build sustainable business practices.
“We shall also be leveraging technology to deliver our financing activities to the beneficiaries and this platform provides us with a unique opportunity to stimulate the development of the continent as Africa’s Global Bank,” he added.
UBA’s Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Alero Ladipo, noted that the $240,000 financing by the bank would be in the form of working capital loans and asset finance loans, with the aim of positioning the businesses for growth and success in the evolving African business landscape.
Specifically, she explained that the SMEs in the particular sectors of agro-processing, automotive, pharmaceuticals, transport and logistics would be able to access a working capital loan by way of overdrafts and short-term loans with a maximum value of $120,000 in each of their country’s local currency; and asset finance loan of up to $120,000 in the local currency of the obligor, to use for the acquisition of operational assets and equipment to meet their business expansion needs.
Ladipo, also pointed out that the strategic move aligns with UBA’s vision to be a catalyst for economic development across Africa, as she noted that by empowering SMEs in key sectors, the bank was fostering job creation, enhancing local production, and promoting intra-African trade, all of which are pivotal goals of the AfCFTA agreement.
In addition to financial support, she emphasised the bank’s commitment towards providing capacity-building opportunities for SMEs, through various training programs and resources, and how UBA aims to equip the businesses with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in a competitive market environment.
She added, “UBA recognises the critical role that SMEs play in driving economic growth and job creation. To facilitate their growth and success. To this end, we are proud to be at the forefront of driving entrepreneurship in Africa.
“Our partnership with AfCFTA and our commitment to SMEs in these critical sectors reflect our dedication to the economic transformation of our continent. We believe that this initiative will not only benefit individual businesses but will also contribute significantly to the overall development and prosperity of Africa.”
UBA is a leading pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than 37 million customers across 1,000 business offices and customer touch points in 20 African countries.
With a presence in New York, London, Paris, Cayman Island and now the UAE, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross-border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.