By Emmanuel Oluebube
AUDA-NEPAD (the African Union Development Agency) (AU-NEPAD/) and Ecobank Group (Ecobank) are committing resources aimed at raising Africa’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to higher grounds.
The second virtual workshop facilitated by McKinsey on June 11, 2020 provided an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of sustaining market access and strengthening capabilities for MSMEs. During this session, high level representatives from the African Union Commission, regional development banks, development financial institutions, international organisations and commercial banks from the continent, agreed to put in place the AUDA-NEPAD “100,000 MSMEs by 2021” programme.
MSMEs require collective resources to secure and create new jobs on the African continent. As such, the AUDA-NEPAD MSME programme will have five pillars: (1) AUDA MSME Academy, (2) MSME Financing Support Programme, (3) MSME Marketplace, (4) MSME Micro-health insurance Scheme and (5) MSME digital platform. These five pillars are designed to ensure that MSMEs across the continent are supported to become more resilient, improve their market access and take advantage of technology to tap into the African market of 1.3 billion consumers and leverage the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.
AUDA-NEPAD Chief Executive Officer Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki commended the contribution of all the Financial Institutions, Development Partners and other Stakeholders who participated in designing the “100,000 MSMEs by 2021” programme. He emphasized the need for all actors to work together and support the private sector in Africa, in order to protect employment and to create the 440 million jobs the continent will need by 2030.
Ecobank Group CEO Ade Ayeyemi reiterated Ecobank’s commitment to the initiative and specifically confirmed its support in building the digital platform, developing content for the MSME Academy and participating in lending to African MSMEs.
Governments have committed to support MSMEs at the national level. The AUDA-NEPAD programme will pool African resources, capabilities, financing, market access and technology, to help achieve a continental response to MSMEs.