The African Union Development Agency NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) has partnered with Ecobank Group to launch the financing component of the 100,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Initiative from 27 May, 2021.

AUDA-NEPAD launched the 100,000 MSMEs Program to accelerate African economic transformation, provide crucial skills and build resilience against the economic shock triggered by the global pandemic.

“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 Program Delivery and Coordination Directorate.

AUDA-NEPAD and the Ecobank Group announced their collaboration in May 2020 and agreed to tackle three main pillars in supporting MSMEs in coming out of the devastating economic impact of COVID-19. These are; MSME Academy, MSME Finance and MSME Marketplace.

The MSME Academy was launched in August 2020 in 8 countries. Both institutions will now proceed to launch the MSME Finance pillar in the same countries. They include Kenya, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Togo. A total of Ksh. 214,700,000 ($2 million) will be extended as 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,” said Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Ecobank Group Executive Commercial Banking.

The collaborative objectives of the 100,000 MSME Finance 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.