LOMÉ – Ecobank and the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) have announced a renewed partnership with a $200 million risk-sharing agreement, aimed at fostering small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) growth across Sub-Saharan Africa. The deal, unveiled at the Africa Financial Industry Summit (AFIS) in Lomé, Togo, today, is set to unlock close to $1 billion in financing for SMEs, with a particular emphasis on supporting women entrepreneurs.
The initiative builds upon a robust relationship that began in 2013 and has since seen AGF disburse $230 million towards enhancing SMEs. Under the new agreement, Ecobank’s network spanning 27 countries will benefit from an increased guarantee cover of 75%, focusing on gender-centric and environmentally sustainable ventures.
This strategic move is expected to catalyze job creation and stimulate economic activity across various sectors. The enhanced pact not only prioritizes gender financing but also green transactions, reflecting a commitment to environmental considerations alongside economic expansion.
Jeremy Awori, CEO of Ecobank Group, praised the agreement as a transformative step for women-owned businesses in search of credit facilities. He emphasized the potential impact this could have on leveling the playing field for female entrepreneurs across the continent.
Jules Ngankam, Group CEO of AGF, highlighted the critical role of risk-sharing mechanisms in enabling banks to expand their SME portfolios. He pointed out that Ecobank’s “Ellevate” program, which is dedicated to empowering women-led or owned SMEs, stands to greatly benefit from AGF’s “AFAWA Guarantee for Growth” facility.
By bolstering Ecobank’s lending capacity through AGF’s expertise in risk mitigation, this collaboration is aligned with broader financial inclusion goals and is poised to drive sustainable development throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
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