United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, and Agence Française de Development (AFD), France’s public and solidarity-based development bank, have 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 it currently operates.
It will also ensure that AFD uses the financial structure availed by UBA to reach out to many SMEs in Africa.
The AFD’s EURIZ project helps the financially underserved micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) 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, thereby help them develop their loans for micro-enterprises, SMEs and microfinance institutions (MFIs).
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the managing director and chief executive officer of UBA, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka described the collaboration as “novel.”
“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,” he said.
Also speaking the deputy director, sub-Saharan Africa of AFD, Mrs. Cecile Couprie 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.”