The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and the Agence FranÃ§aise de Development (AFD), Franceâ€™s public and solidarity-based development bank have entered into an agreement to utilise the EURIZ and ARIZ schemes offered by AFD to facilitate the financing of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups across the 20 countries where UBA operates in Africa.
The new partnership, an off-shoot of the strategic relationship both institutions have had over the years, is expected to enhance UBAâ€™s capacity to finance SMEs in Nigeria and across the other 19 African countries where the bank currently operates, whilst ensuring AFD uses the financial structure availed by UBA to reach out to many SMEs across Africa.
According to a statement, the AFDâ€™s EURIZ project helps the financially underserved micro, small and medium enterprises to receive loans for business development and sustainable jobs.
AFD designed ARIZ risk-sharing facility as one of the financial tools to give SMEs easier access to financing from financial institutions. In the same vein, ARIZ helps financial institutions to deal with their SME risk and thereby help them develop their loan activity for micro-enterprises, SMEs and microfinance institutions (MFIs).
â€œOur partnership with Agence FranÃ§aise de Development(AFD) is novel as the scheme being introduced will enable us reach the various markets in our presence countries and would empower the SMEs across Africa through the provision of financial access, critical to their survival,â€ the Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Kennedy Uzoka said.
â€œWith this partnership, we will be able to derive value from a world-class financial institution which we believe is critical in growing wealth on the continent in the long-term,â€ Uzoka further stated.
Also speaking at the signing, the Deputy Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, AFD, Mrs Cecile Couprie said: â€œIt is an honour for us at AFD to work with UBA to promote the development of African countries. Working with UBA will assist us to contribute to improving the economic and social conditions in Africa of which the growth of SMEs is essential.â€
Both parties recognise the core role of the private sector in the economic development of Africa and the need to support African entrepreneurship as the catalyst to creating jobs and fighting against poverty on the continent.