United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has restated its commitment towards deepening Intra-Africa trade to attain self-reliance and economic development.
Speaking at the Africa Day celebration at the 37th Lagos International Trade Fair, in Lagos, UBA’s Deputy Managing Director, Muyiwa Akinyemi, said it is important for Africa to be deliberate about the economic liberation drive of the continent.
Akinyemi explained that the bank’s dedication to SMEs and trade advancement across Africa is what informed its recent agreement with the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, to provide financing for up to $6 billion over the next three years to eligible businesses across the continent.
He said, “We signed the agreement with AfCFTA on the sidelines of the 30th Afreximbank Annual Meeting (AAM) which was held in Accra, Ghana. By this agreement, both parties are to promote the development of SMEs operating in Four sectors under the 1st phase of the partnership which are largely import dependent by providing technical and financing solutions for intra-African/domestic alternatives. These economic sectors are Agro-processing, Automotive, pharmaceuticals, Transport and Logistics.
“One of the key initiatives of the AfCFTA is to improve access to finance and markets for SMEs to encourage their growth and contribution to the socio-economic development of Africa. UBA remains committed to supporting the growth/development of SMEs across Africa. This is in line with our strategic focus on the SME segment being a catalyst to the economic development of Africa,” Akinyemi noted.
He explained further that under the partnership UBA will go beyond just financing to provide non-financial services to these SMEs to develop the capacity for growth across the 20 African countries that we are present and build sustainable business practices. We shall also be leveraging technology to deliver our financing activities to the beneficiaries and this platform provides us with a unique opportunity to stimulate the development of the continent as Africa’s Global Bank.”
Also speaking during the event, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Asiwaju (Dr) Michael Olawale- Cole, appreciated the bank’s consistent participation as partner and headline sponsor of the LITF for the past six years.
“Partnering with UBA is significant because it is an organisation that has its footprint in 20 countries and that is a big feat, as partners we think alike and work together,” he said.