Ecobank and the African Union Development Agency New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) have held a virtual graduation ceremony for more than 200 graduates of the Ecobank MSME Training for Financing Program. The Graduates came from the eight countries in the pilot phase of the MSME Academy including Kenya, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda and Togo.

The MSME Academy, launched by the Ecobank Group and AUDA-NEPAD in 2020, is part of AUDA-NEPAD’s transformational 100,000 MSMEs initiative, a continental response to COVID-19. The Academy provides entrepreneurs, owners and managers of MSMEs with coaching, mentoring and business skills training courses.

Speaking at the virtual graduation ceremony, Ade Ayeyemi, CEO, Ecobank Group commented, “We had no hesitation in supporting AUDA-NEPAD’s 100,000 MSMEs initiative. The framework we designed collectively hinges on three critical pillars needed for MSMEs to build resilience in such unprecedented times, being access to capabilities, access to finance and access to markets.”

Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO AUDA-NEPAD, added “This graduation comes at an opportune time, after the first anniversary of the 100 000 MSMEs Initiative. The Ceremony builds on other important milestones achieved so far, including the launch of the Initiative in 13 Member States, reaching out to more than 3 million participants, mostly micro entrepreneurs, who learned about the potential the MSME Academy platform offers.”

About 3000 MSMEs applied to the MSME training for the Ecobank Financing program, out of which 850 were short-listed in the 8 pilot countries. The 6 weeks long program covered 4 modules and 15 training sessions per country. In total, 120 sessions were delivered in all 8 countries. In Q3 2021, Ecobank will deliver a unique sandwich program for the remaining over 2000 SMES who registered but were not shortlisted in the just ended training program. The objective is to ensure that no MSME who expressed the desire to be part of this learning experience is left behind.