The African Union Development Agency NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) in partnership with Ecobank Group, will launch the financing component of its 100,000 MSME Initiative on 27 May 2021.
AUDA-NEPAD and the Ecobank Group announced their collaboration in May 2020 to support MSMEs in coming out of the devastating economic impact of COVID-19. The institutions agreed to tackle three main pillars of the initiative namely: MSME Academy, MSME Finance and MSME Marketplace.
The MSME Academy was launched in August 2020 in 8 countries. Following the successful launch of the MSME Academy, the institutions will now proceed to launch the MSME Finance pillar in the same countries. These countries are Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Togo. A total sum of $ 2.0 million will be extended 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.
“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.”Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Ecobank Group Executive Commercial Banking.
The 100,000 MSME initiative and Objectives of MSME Finance
AUDA-NEPAD launched the 100,000 MSMEs Programme to accelerate African economic transformation, provide the needed skills, and build resilience against the economic shock triggered by the global pandemic. The ‘100,000 MSMEs’ initiative seeks to build the capacity 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.
The initiative is aligned to Aspiration 1 of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which aims at building a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development. It is also linked to UN Sustainable Development Goal 8, which promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
“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.”Amine Idriss Adoum AUDA-NEPAD, Director of Programme Delivery & Coordination Directorate.
The objectives of the MSME Finance component are to 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. The MSME Finance will generate relevant data on MSMEs to enhance evidence-based policy recommendations to AU decision bodies. It will also facilitate engagement with ecosystem partners such as financiers and links to trade and markets.
Lastly, it will enable bottom-up engagement with youth and women entrepreneurs. This will ensure that youth and gender development policies benefit from their voice and participation as citizens of the continent.