Access Bank To Provide $1bn Lifeline To Boost MSMEs In Africa
Access Bank Plc, with the support of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), has announced its commitment to provide a $1 billion lifeline to boost micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) businesses across Africa.
This was announced by Seyi Kumapayi, Executive in charge of the Africa subsidiaries, Access Bank Group at a two-day African MSMEs Immersion Roundtable organized in Lagos.
The event themed ‘Enhancing the Capabilities of MSMEs Across Africa’ was organized for MSMEs in the country and across Africa, DFIs, and managing directors of the bank’s subsidiaries in the continent.
Speaking at the event, Seyi said what the bank is trying to do with the programme is to really look at its vision, which essentially is to be the world’s most respected African bank and use it to create a lasting impact by supporting women, entrepreneurs, youths, and enterprises.
He said, “In Africa, we have about 1.4 billion people, which is 17 per cent of the world’s population today. However, from a GDP standpoint, you only have 2.5 per cent of GDP, which means that we are not producing enough.”
“For us over the next five years, we would make an impact in about 10 million SMEs across Africa. There are about 90 million SMEs across Africa. The other is that we are also looking to commit $1 billion over the next five years to support SMEs across Africa”.
Also, Mr. Victor Etuokwu, Deputy Managing Director, Retail North, Access Bank said the bank has over the years demonstrated the love it has for the SME segments of the market because it is the segment that is the engine room of the economy as it contributed over 70 per cent to employment in this market and markets across the continent.
He said: “So, here in Nigeria, Access Bank is a proud supporter of SMEs and will do so, in three areas. These are access to finance, access to knowledge and business intelligence, and access to markets. These are the three areas that really are challenging to anyone playing in this market, but because we want to be drivers of the economy, we pay particular attention to this segment.
“This year alone, we must have provided finance of over N40 billion to them across the country. Hundreds of 1000s of them, but that’s not enough because we have a large population. We have over 40 million SMEs in Nigeria, and want to do a lot more but not just in Nigeria, but across the continent.
“So, here we have the AfDB, FMO and almost ten DFIs present here. We are also looking at Nigeria DFIs available here in Nigeria to join hands with us to look for ways to provide the funding that the segment needs to truly kick-start the economy.
“So, the idea here is to create what we call the African immersion facility intervention program, which will be used to drive SMEs across the continents”.
Commenting on responses from Africa, Etuokwu said, “ Well, we have managing directors from our 12 countries here and we have some of the DFIs in those countries here and the idea here is to bring together both the private and public sector and people in government to work together to have a program that is effective.”
Etuokwu said, “We will begin to see a lot of adoption and take up of these facilities by next year, 2023 and we hope that a year from that we will begin to see an impact in the market. Our goal in Nigeria, for example, is to be able to move over 100,000 microenterprises onto millionaire status. Move them up from being small businesses onto being still small businesses, but at least they have turnover running into millions of naira on a monthly basis”.