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UBA and African Guarantee Fund Forge a $50M Alliance to Fuel SME Growth and Women Entrepreneurship Across 20 African Nations

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louis Buyisiwe

Mar 12, 2024

women empowerment

UBA’s Group Managing Director, Oliver Alawuba, at the signing ceremony in Lagos, highlighted UBA's ongoing commitment to nurturing SMEs on the African continent, with a special focus on female entrepreneurs. "This guarantee acts as a significant boost for our SME-focused initiatives, particularly for businesses led by women and those prioritizing environmental sustainability. The upcoming capacity-building efforts across 20 African countries are in perfect harmony with our goal to empower businesses, spur innovation, and cultivate sustainable economic growth," Alawuba state
The United Bank for Africa bankers and AGF members afterr signing the partnership

The United Bank for Africa (UBA) has announced a landmark partnership with the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) aimed at bolstering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across 20 African nations. This collaboration sees the AGF pledging a substantial $50 million in Portfolio Guarantees, alongside a comprehensive capacity-building program tailored for UBA's SME clientele. The initiative places a particular emphasis on enterprises led by women and those focusing on eco-friendly projects.


UBA’s Group Managing Director, Oliver Alawuba, at the signing ceremony in Lagos, highlighted UBA's ongoing commitment to nurturing SMEs on the African continent, with a special focus on female entrepreneurs. "This guarantee acts as a significant boost for our SME-focused initiatives, particularly for businesses led by women and those prioritizing environmental sustainability. The upcoming capacity-building efforts across 20 African countries are in perfect harmony with our goal to empower businesses, spur innovation, and cultivate sustainable economic growth," Alawuba stated.


Alawuba also expressed enthusiasm about the partnership's role in supporting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, reiterating UBA's $6 billion commitment to African SMEs. This move is part of a broader strategy to bolster economic unity across the continent.


The collaboration also aims to address gender disparities in business financing. "In partnership with the Affirmative Finance Action for Women, we're dedicated to offering women-owned SMEs more favorable loan conditions and flexible collateral requirements, addressing the estimated $42 billion financing gap faced by African women in business," Alawuba added.


Jules Ngankam, Group CEO of the AGF, underscored the significance of this alliance between two leading pan-African entities. He emphasized the crucial role of SMEs in Africa's economy, noting their predominant presence in the private sector and substantial contribution to employment. "This initiative is set to mitigate the financial risks associated with SMEs, with a keen focus on women-led and green enterprises, thereby fostering economic expansion across the continent," Ngankam remarked.

This strategic partnership aligns with UBA and the AfCFTA Secretariat's earlier announcement in September 2023, aiming to support UBA's extensive commitment to nurturing SMEs across Africa under the AfCFTA framework.

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