Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the transport and logistics, agro-processing, automotive, and pharmaceutical sectors across Africa are set to enjoy funding as the United Bank of Africa (UBA) and the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat (AfCFTA) recently signed a $6 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to fund SMEs in these sectors.
This disclosure was made known by the Head of SME Banking at UBA, Babatunde Ajayi at the Nigerian Canadian Business Association Business 2023 Roundtable which was held in Lagos, themed “Enabling Growth by Unlocking Access to Capital, Technology, And Markets.”
Ajayi who spoke during the panel session at the event noted that intra-African trade remained below 20 percent while other continents have continued to post better numbers.
What Ajayi said
- “I’m the one driving the newly signed $6bn in partnership with the AfCFTA to fund SMEs across Africa. We are focusing on four sectors – Agro-processing, Automotive, Pharmaceuticals, and Transport and Logistics.
- “Across Africa, what we found are that these sectors have the highest potential for import substitution and those are the sectors we can easily make huge gains within Africa.”
The Director of Trade Promotion at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sunny Omeiza, while giving a speech disclosed that energy, access to finance, and multiple taxation have continued to constitute an albatross for SMEs.
Omeiza also noted that the high cost of production in Nigeria had made the prices of commodities produced by Nigerian SMEs not competitive with the prices of products imported from other countries.
Also, the Chairperson of the NCBA, Ebi Obaro who spoke at the Nigerian Canadian Business Association Business 2023 Roundtable noted that the three pillars of access to capital, technology, and markets provide essential guidance for SMEs navigating the intricacies of the global economy.
- “Technology is drastically changing the future of business and holds a lot of potential for small and medium-sized enterprises. Our goal is to explore the many ways in which we can harness technology to improve efficiency and productivity in businesses in both Nigeria and Canada.”