Ecobank and African Guarantee Fund Forge $200 Million Partnership to Boost SMEs and Economic Growth in Africa

Ecobank and African Guarantee Fund Forge $200 Million Partnership to Boost SMEs and Economic Growth in Africa

Emmynet24 News Media reports that a groundbreaking move to fuel economic growth and support entrepreneurial ventures, Ecobank and the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) have joined forces in a $200 million risk-sharing agreement. The partnership aims to catalyze economic development and provide substantial support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the continent, with a special focus on women-owned enterprises.

The strategic partnership agreement was signed on the sidelines of the Africa Financial Industry Summit (AFIS) in Togo, showcasing the commitment of both organizations to fostering economic resilience and entrepreneurship in Africa.

This $200 million risk-sharing agreement represents the third renewal of Ecobank's collaboration with AGF. The initial guarantee, initiated in 2013, covered seven countries with a total guaranteed portfolio of $50 million.

Ecobank Group CEO, Mr. Jeremy Awori, expressed enthusiasm about the potential impact on SMEs and the broader economic landscape. He stated, "Our enhanced partnership with the African Guarantee Fund marks a significant step forward in our commitment to supporting SMEs across Africa with affordable financing." Awori emphasized the initiative's goal to eliminate stringent collateral requirements, particularly benefiting women-focused businesses in accessing credit.

The CEO of African Guarantee Fund Group, Jules Ngankam, acknowledged the transformative impact of the longstanding partnership between AGF and Ecobank Group on the SME landscape. Ngankam stated, "This partnership will catalyze close to $1 billion of financing for SMEs, who are the real drivers of growth in African economies."

He highlighted that Ecobank's "Ellevate" program would significantly benefit from the "AFAWA Guarantee for Growth" facility, boosting financing for women-led or owned SMEs.

The renewed partnership extends to 27 countries within Ecobank's African network, offering 50 percent coverage for qualifying SMEs across all target markets. Key highlights include an enhanced 75 percent guarantee cover for gender financing and green transactions, with favorable terms to expedite transactions led by women or focused on environmental sustainability.

The collaboration is designed to address challenges faced by SMEs in accessing affordable financing by leveraging Ecobank's extensive network and financial expertise, combined with AGF's proven track record in risk mitigation.

This $200 million risk-sharing agreement is poised to have a profound impact on various sectors, contributing to increased economic activity, job creation, and sustainable development across sub-Saharan Africa. The collaborative effort showcases a landmark initiative driving economic growth and fostering entrepreneurship in the financial landscape of Sub-Saharan Africa. The partnership covers countries such as Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, among others.

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