L-R: Deputy Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Agence Française de Development(AFD), Mrs Cecile Couprie and Group Deputy Managing Director, United Bank for Africa Plc, Mr. Victor Osadolor, during the signing of partnership agreement by the two institutions to finance SMEs and Start-ups in Africa .
United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, a pan-African banking group and Agence Française de Development (AFD), France’s public and solidarity-based development bank, on Wednesday, March 14, entered into a Framework Agreement to utilise the EURIZ and ARIZ schemes offered by AFD to facilitate the financing of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups across the 20 countries where UBA operates in 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.
Sitting from left: Deputy Director, om left are: Group Head, Global Financial Institutions, UBA, Sola Yomi-Ajayi; Country Director, AFD, Olivier Delefosse; GMD/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka; Country Manager Nigeria, AFD, Olivier Follin; and Country Director, AFD, Mr. Andre Hue…..in Lagos on Wednesday
The AFD’s EURIZ project helps the financially underserved Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to receive loans for business development and sustainable jobs. AFD designed ARIZ risk-sharing facility as one of the financial tools to give SMEs easier access to financing from financial institutions. In the same vein, ARIZ helps financial institutions to deal with their SME risk and thereby help them develop their loan activity for micro-enterprises, SMEs and Microfinance Institutions (MFIs).
“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,” Kennedy Uzoka, Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, said.
“With this partnership, we will be able to derive value from a world-class financial institution which we believe is critical in growing wealth on the continent in the long-term,” Uzoka further stated.
Also speaking at the signing, Mrs Cecile Couprie, Deputy Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Agence Française de Development(AFD) said: “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.”
Both Parties recognize the core role of the private sector in the economic development of Africa and the need to support African entrepreneurship as the catalyst to creating jobs and fighting against poverty on the continent.
UBA, Africa’s global bank, is one of the largest commercial banks in Nigeria incorporated which operates in 20 African countries whilst providing a wide range of products and services. The bank has been the leading financial institution to support various infrastructure projects, particularly power, telecom, transport and also social infrastructure such as hospital and education facilities to various countries in Africa. In Nigeria, UBA operates in each of the country’s 36 states, helping to deepen financial inclusion through its brick and mortar branches and revered digital banking platforms. Globally, UBA has over 1,000 branches and customer touch points, serving over 14 million customers.
Agence Française de Dévelopement(AFD) is a bi-lateral development finance institution established in 1941 that works on behalf of the French government in more than 80 countries . Its mission is to finance development according to France’s Overseas Development Assistance policies. AFD’s activities are aimed at reducing poverty and inequalities, promoting sustainable economic growth, and protecting “Global Public Goods” of benefit to all humanity. Protecting Global Public Goods includes the fight against climate change and pandemics; the preservation of biodiversity; the promotion of social and environmental responsibility; as well as aid to countries weakened by strife, war and natural disasters.