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After intent deal with CDB, UBA inks another with AFD to grow SMEs in Africa

Barely three weeks after Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, and China Development Bank (CDB), the world’s largest development finance institution, sealed a $100 million seven-year letter of intent agreement, it has again, entered into another deal with Agence Française de Development (AFD), France’s public and solidarity-based development bank to gross activities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.

Business Hilights gathered that the latest Framework Agreement with AFD will utilise the EURIZ and ARIZ schemes offered by AFD to facilitate the financing of SMEs and startups across the 20 countries where UBA presence is felt across Africa.

The new partnership, an off-shoot of the strategic relationship both institutions have had over the years, will enhance UBA’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 the Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, “Our partnership with Agence Française 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”.

In her remarks at the signing ceremony, Deputy Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Agence Française de Development (AFD), Mrs. Cecile Couprie, noted that “It 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.”

A credible source at the bank told Business Hilights weekend in Lagos that the key reason for the Framework deal is to deepen growth assistance of budding small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.

The source further noted that “As you can recall, the major challenge of SMEs in Africa is business education and funding. So the fund will among others, be channeled to business development trainings for SMEs which will be followed up with adequate funding of SMEs that met given terms and conditions for accessing the facility within the first seven years”.

The official was of the view that with the combination of facilities from CDB and AFD, UBA may become the Nigerian bank with the highest volume of financial allocation to SMEs.