AfCFTA, UBA sign $6bn MoU to support SMEs

Bisola David
Bisola David
AfCFTA, UBA sign $6bn MoU to support SMEs

The African Continental Free Trade Area secretariat and United Bank for Africa, one of Nigeria’s Tier One lenders, have signed a $6 billion memorandum of understanding to finance small and medium-sized businesses so they may take advantage of the opportunities provided by the AfCFTA.

The Punch reported that this was said at the Nigerian Canadian Business Association Business 2023 Roundtable, which was hosted in Lagos, by the Head of SME Banking at UBA, Babatunde Ajayi.

The second roundtable of its kind was titled “Enabling Growth by Unlocking Access to Capital, Technology, and Markets.”

Speaking during a panel discussion, Ajayi voiced concern that, despite other continents continuing to show higher figures, intra-African trade was still less than 20%.

“I’m the one driving the newly signed $6 billion in partnership with the AfCFTA to fund SMEs across Africa. Agro-processing, Automotive, Pharmaceuticals, and Transport and Logistics are the four industries we are concentrating on,” he said.

“We have discovered that these are the sectors in Africa where we can easily make enormous gains and where there is the greatest potential for import substitution.”

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Director of Trade Promotion, Sunny Omeiza, stated that energy, financing availability, and many taxes continue to be a burden for small and medium-sized enterprises.

He continued by saying that because Nigeria has high manufacturing costs, the pricing of commodities produced by Nigerian SMEs are not competitive with those of goods imported from other nations.

The NCBA Chairperson, Ebi Obaro, stated in her welcome speech that SMEs may find crucial support in the three pillars of markets, technology, and capital access as they navigate the complexities of the global economy.

According to her, technology will have a significant impact on business in the future and present several opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses. Our objective is to investigate the various avenues through which technology might be utilized to enhance production and efficiency in Canadian and Nigerian enterprises.”

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