- UBA has secured a $6bn facility to help small and medium enterprises explore opportunities
- The bank cited the low intra-African trade performance in the country compared to others
- The funding will be directed to agro-processing, automotive, pharmaceuticals, transport and logistics
Legit.ng journalist Zainab Iwayemi has over three years of experience covering the Economy, Technology, and Capital Market.
The African Continental Free Trade Area secretariat and United Bank for Africa, under the leadership of Nigerian businessman Tony Elumelu, have signed a $6 billion memorandum of understanding (MoU).
The bank said the funding's purpose is to assist small and medium-sized businesses in seizing the chances provided by the AfCFTA.
Babatunde Ajayi, the head of SME Banking at UBA, disclosed this at the Nigerian Canadian Business Association Business 2023 Roundtable titled "Enabling Growth by Unlocking Access to Capital, Technology, And Markets."
Intra-African trade performs low
According to Punch, Ajayi expressed worry that the intra-African trade performed below 20% compared to its peers in other continents.
“I’m the one driving the newly signed $6bn in partnership with the AfCFTA to fund SMEs across Africa. We are focusing on four sectors – Agro-processing, Automotive, Pharmaceuticals and Transport and Logistics.
He said that the highlighted sectors have the highest potential for import substitution across africa. He added that the sectors can easily make huge gains within the region.
Sunny Omeiza, the Director of Trade Promotion at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also emphasised how finance and multiple taxation have become major industry challenges.
According to him, the high cost of production associated with local content has made them more expensive compared to imported products.
Ebi Obaro, the Chairperson of the NCBA, explained that access to capital, technology, and markets are the three pillars SMEs will need to navigate the intricacies of the global economy.
Legit.ng reported that the bank also took over the assets of one of the biggest conglomerates in Nigeria.
Banking consolidation leads investors to inject N110bn in UBA, First Bank, Zenith, Access, others
Legit.ng further reported that the presidency expressed support for the Central Bank of Nigeria's planned consolidation in the banking sector, saying it would help grow Nigeria's economy to a new high.
The support came five days after the CBN governor, Olayemi Cardoso, said the apex bank would ask banks to raise new capital.
The President spoke on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Guardian Newspapers in Lagos that there would be a strong need to revisit banks' capital adequacy.
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