UBA Launches $6bn African SMEs Empowerment Initiative

The United Bank for Africa has announced a $6bn initiative aimed at providing robust and comprehensive financing solutions to support and boost activities of small and medium-scale enterprises across the African continent.

In a statement on Sunday, the bank said through the initiative, UBA would be giving SMEs the opportunity to access financing for small businesses that specialised in the key sectors of agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, automotive and transport, and logistics.

It stated: “The financing initiative is powered by UBA’s recent partnership with the African Continental Free Trade Area secretariat to provide financing for up to $6bn over the next three years to eligible SMEs across Africa, an agreement which was signed on the sidelines of the 30th Afreximbank Annual Meeting which was held in Accra, Ghana.

“By the agreement, UBA and AfCFTA agreed to promote the development of SMEs operating in four sectors under the 1st phase of the partnership which are largely import dependent, by providing technical and financing solutions for intra-African/domestic alternatives. These economic sectors are Agro-processing, Automotive, pharmaceuticals, Transport and Logistics.”

The Deputy Managing Director of UBA, Muyiwa Akinyemi, while signing the agreement on behalf of the bank, noted that being Africa’s global bank, UBA remained committed to supporting the growth/development of SMEs across Africa.

He said it was in line with its strategic focus on the SME segment being a catalyst for the economic development of Africa.

Muyiwa added: “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.”

Also speaking, the Group Head, Marketing and Communications, UBA, Alero Ladipo, said the bank had a $240,000 financing which 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.