United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Trade Hub, West Africa Trade & Investment Hub has partnered with an African Investment Hub, ShEquity to invest and support more than 100 high-potential women-owned businesses with a sum of $1.2m.
The businesses targeted will operate in one of six key sectors: agribusiness, healthcare, tech-enabled solutions, renewable energy, mobility, and fast-moving consumer goods.
“Women entrepreneurs are integral for Africa’s success, as they operate more than 40 percent of small and medium-sized businesses on the continent. However, African women entrepreneurs face the hurdle of collectively growing these businesses due to $42bn less in financing than their male counterparts,” Founder and Managing Director of ShEquity, Pauline Koelbl stated.
Koelbl added that if Africa is to reach its full economic potential, smart investment for African women entrepreneurs needs to be dramatically increased. “The lack of financing, combined with insufficient business support, put potential women entrepreneurs and those seeking to expand their already successful businesses in a growth deficit or low-income trap, widening the gender gap and reinforcing negative biases,” he said.
The partnership between ShEquity and USAID Trade Hub will focus on challenges facing Africa by bringing cash investment, structured technical support, and access to high-value networks.
As for ShEquity, it will generate at least $15m in private funding that will in turn be used to “invest, upscale and accelerate women-owned or led businesses operating in Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, and Niger.”
Also, through this partnership, ShEquity will provide business development services and technical support to 120 women-owned or led businesses in the target markets and also select 12 high-growth, high-impact businesses that will each receive at least $50,000 in venture capital funding.
The combined investments in the 12 selected companies are expected to create at least 200 jobs and benefit around 20,000 people economically either directly or indirectly, along their respective value chains, through 2024.
According to Koelbl, ShEquity’s current portfolio of companies has impacted more than 13.5 million people across Sub-Saharan.
Koelbl stated: “We are excited about the future, as we hope to see more action towards democratizing access to capital and closing the gender funding gap in Africa. Backing female-led funds is the best strategy to address gender funding gap because of its trickle-down effect: more diversity in capital allocators translates into diversity of businesses getting funded,” he continued.
The USAID Trade Hub’s partnership with ShEquity represents its commitment to ensuring more women in West Africa have the access to finance, resources, and knowledge needed to grow their businesses and speed economic development in the region.
ShEquity has since invested in eight businesses in Sub-Saharan countries. Since the launch, ShEquity has been investing as a special vehicle purpose and is now in the process of formalizing into a venture capital fund structure.
FSDH Merchant Bank Receives Approval from AfDB for $25 Million Finance Facility to Support SMEs
African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $25 million credit facility for FSDH Merchant Bank to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
FSDH, which provides investment banking and security trading services, received a $15 million trade finance line of credit and another $10 million in loan transaction guarantee to provide loans for SMEs.
Following several limitations faced by SMEs in the country which have stifled their growth, the $25 million facility will enable FSDH to work towards ensuring the growth of SMEs by reducing the trade finance gap in Nigeria and ensuring the availability of funds for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the industrial sector.
The Bank will also guarantee up to 100% of non-payment risks arising from letters of credit and similar trade finance instruments issued by FSDH under the guarantee portion. This will allow confirmation of trade transactions originated by FSDH, benefiting local import and export businesses.
Overall, the facility will catalyze more than $200 million of trade finance transactions across multi-sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, and energy over the next three years.
Speaking on the recently approved funds, the Director General of The African Development Bank (AFDB), Lamin Barrow said: “The availability of trade finance instruments to drive post-pandemic economic recovery efforts cannot be overemphasized.
“Hence, the Bank’s financing will help eligible Nigerian SMEs to take advantage of existing and emerging opportunities in the domestic and regional markets.”
Also commenting is the Bank’s Director for Financial Sector Development, Stefan Nalletamby, he said, “We are excited about finalizing this facility with FSDH as having the Bank as a partner will aid FSDH in scaling up its trade finance offerings in Nigeria to help meet the ever-increasing trade finance gap.
“This partnership is expected to catalyze more than $200 million value of trade finance transactions across multi-sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and energy over the next 3.5 years.”
The African Development Bank (AFDB) anchors its current Nigeria strategy on two pillars which are supporting infrastructure development and promoting social inclusion through agribusiness and skills development.
Microsoft Strengthens Partnership With AFDB, to Develop Youth Entrepreneurship Ecosystems in Africa
American multinational technology corporation Microsoft has strengthened its partnership with the African Development Bank (AFDB) to provide support to Africa’s youth entrepreneurs under the bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks (YEIB) Initiative.
Through its African Transformation Office (ATO), Microsoft will partner with AFDB to develop entrepreneurship ecosystems in Africa through the creation of jobs and dramatically scaling impact in Africa through digital inclusion.
The partnership will see to the establishment and growth of national-level institutions, leveraging public-private collaboration model to ensure entrepreneurs get the required technical and financial support while building their capacity.
Microsoft reinforced its partnership with AFDB to develop Africa’s entrepreneurship ecosystem because it believes youth empowerment in the region will bolster solutions to unemployment if there is affordable access to finance, and quality business development services.
Commenting on its reinforced partnership with AFDB, General Manager of Microsoft Africa Regional Cluster, Wael Elkabbany said: “We believe much can be done to help foster youth entrepreneurship by collaborating with the African Development Bank, driving greater economic inclusion for this key segment of the population, and ultimately building a more prosperous society.”
”Already we’ve seen considerable success partnering together on initiatives such as Coding for Employment, which set out to create over 9 million jobs and reach 32 million youth and women across Africa in just 10 years.”
Also, the African Development Bank (AFDB) Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization Solomon Quaynor said “The strengthening of our partnership with Microsoft on the Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks (YEIB) is an important development in our journey towards harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend and facilitating the creation of millions of jobs for young Africans by 2025.
“The initiative places much-needed focus on youth entrepreneurship, which is key to achieving our ambitious employment targets.”
This partnership seeks to support the establishment of national-level institutions through a public-private collaboration model to scale up technical and financial support for youth entrepreneurs to build their capacity.
Bank of Industry Disburses N213.63bn to Over 30,000 Businesses in 2021
The Bank of Industry (BOI) has revealed that it disbursed a total of N213.63 billion to 30,406 businesses in Nigeria in the 2021 financial year.
The Managing Director of BOI, Olukayode Pitan disclosed this at the 62nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the bank on Thursday in Abuja. He said that the bank was able to successfully scale up its developmental impacts in 2021 despite the challenges and limitations caused by COVID-19.
Pitan said “at the peak of COVID-19 in 2020, the bank took steps to support customers with a two per cent reduction in interest rates for a year alongside an extension of loan tenors and moratoriums. He said that the operating environment improved in 2021 and that is the reason they have decided to extend the incentives until March 31, 2022.”
He added that all ongoing projects were reviewed to assess emerging risks and opportunities and also additional support was provided.
“In the year under review, the bank disbursed a total of N213.63 billion to 30,406 Nigerian enterprises through both direct and indirect methods. This represents a 47.3 per cent increase over disbursements in 2020.
“The 2021 disbursements include N2.99billion to 22,120 farmers through our smallholder farmers on lending product and one billion Naira to 4,000 micro-retailers through our MSMEs distributor finance programme.
“At BoI, we have since taken measures to ensure that our systems, processes and people are continuously equipped to meet the evolving business environment.
“Today, we are a more agile and adaptive institution, able to provide the necessary developmental support for Nigeria’s real sector in an ever-changing economy.
“Our commitment to building a resilient organisation that can respond to the needs of our customers and operating challenges is unwavering.
“We strongly believe that we can achieve this with the continuous support of the stakeholders.” he further said.
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