Equity Bank to finance 5 million SMEs creating 50m jobs in AfCFTA

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  • Under the agreement, Equity Group Holdings will implement the AfCFTA agreement and the private sector strategy through the `Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan’
  • The plan hopes to revive the economy in the continent following the COVID-19 pandemic that halted operations in different sectors leading to a massive loss of jobs
  • AfCFTA Secretariat secretary-general Wamkele Mene said Africa was well positioned to overcome economic crises under the agreement.
  • Equity Group MD James Mwangi said he hopes the two institutions will create wealth for Africans as the agreement will help SMEs access growth opportunities through cross-border trade

Equity Group Holdings has signed a post-COVID-19 recovery Memorandum of Understanding with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat to deepen the continent’s economic integration.

Under the agreement, the lender will implement the AfCFTA agreement and the private sector strategy through the `Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan’.

The agreement was reached during the 41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union in Lusaka, Zambia.

AfCFTA, Equity deal to create millions of jobs

A statement posted by Equity Bank on its website indicated the plan hopes to revive the economy in the continent following the COVID-19 pandemic that halted operations in different sectors leading to the loss of jobs.

In this, AfCFTA and Equity will work on the private sector economic recovery and resilience stimulus plan where the lender has seeded with a $ 6 billion (Sh 678 billion) fund focusing on food and agriculture, extractives, manufacturing and logistics, trade and investments, social impact, health and environmental investments.

Equity plans to finance over five million micro, small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) and 25 million vulnerable households by 2025 to support the creation of 50 million jobs.

AfCFTA Secretariat secretary-general Wamkele Mene speaks on deal

After inking the deal, AfCFTA Secretariat secretary-general Wamkele Mene said Africa was well positioned to overcome economic crises under the agreement.

“Our partnership with the Equity Group is a valuable intervention for the African continent, whereby we acknowledge that trade is going to enable our continent to accelerate economic recovery.

Kenyan SMEs contribute 40 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Photo: KBC.

With AUDA-NEPAD, we will also be able to deliver on our respective mandates through the complementarity of our expertise, skills, purpose and vision by taking special consideration of the interests of micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises, women-owned businesses, workers, and youth,” Mene said.

 James Mwangi says the deal will create wealth for Africans

On his part, Equity Group managing director James Mwangi said he hopes the two institutions will create wealth for Africans as the agreement will help SMEs access growth opportunities through cross-border trade.

“The growth opportunities which the AfCFTA Agreement affords SMEs are unparalleled, making trade and cross-border scaling a possibility for all eligible and interested businesses. Equity Group Foundation, provides opportunities to transform lives and livelihoods and capacity building along six pillars which include Education and Leadership Development, Health, Food and Agriculture, Energy and the Environment, Financial Inclusion and Enterprise Development, and Social Protections which serve to leave no one behind in the recovery and resilience of the African continent,” Mwangi said.

AfCFTA is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063. It came into force on May 30, 2019.

It aims to bring together all 55 member states of the African Union with a market of over 1.3 billion people.

The agreement hopes to boost intra- Africa trade by eliminating trade barriers.

Read: List of best African countries to invest in

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