Liberian SME sector gets a boost from Access Bank and AfDB partnership
The Ebola crisis has exacerbated challenges in the Liberian MSMEs sector.
Access Bank Liberia Ltd (ABL) has signed a technical assistance partnership agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB). The partnership is expected to alleviate the huge financing gap faced by Liberia’s micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) through a grant from Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) to Access Bank Liberia.
The Ebola crisis in Liberia has exacerbated challenges in the Liberian MSMEs sector. Some of these challenges faced by Liberian small businesses are albeit common among many African countries, chief of which is lack of financing. However, the Ebola epidemic, which ravaged the economies of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, has further worsened the financing challenges. There are about 10,000 registered SMEs in Liberia many of which operate informally. And with lack of access to finance, the prospect of growth and expansion as well as opportunities for job creation are limited.
“Access Bank Liberia would like to extend its deepest gratitude for AfDB’s ongoing support of Access Bank and the MSME sector in Liberia,” Acting CEO of Access Bank Liberia, Dusko Dimitrov, said. “These funds will allow the Bank to extend its outreach as the only dedicated MSME lender in the country. Access Bank sees access to finance as an essential point of development for Liberia and its citizens and will continue to strive towards making banking services available to all members of society,” Dimitrov added.
The partnership with ABL is signed under the auspices of the Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) of the AfDB, which focuses on accelerating Africa’s transformation. FAPA is a multi-donor thematic trust fund that provides grant funding for technical assistance and capacity building to support implementation of the Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy (2014-2019). Active contributors to the fund include the Governments of Japan and Austria and the African Development Bank. FAPA has provided over $46 million to 57 projects in 38 countries across the continent. The FAPA portfolio includes regional and national projects aimed at improving the business environment, strengthening financial systems, building private sector infrastructure, promotion of trade and development of MSMEs.
The AfDB strategy seeks to expand access to basic financial services; provide financial products and services to support the gradual transition to green growth of the real economy; improve financial infrastructure; enhance regional financial integration; enrich corporate governance; focus on entrepreneurship and innovation to foster private sector development; and build financial skills.
“We look forward to continuing our partnership with Access Bank Liberia, which helps address the challenges MSME faces in accessing finance,” Ms. Margaret Kilo, Resident Representative of the AfDB in Liberia said. “Access Bank provides loans and banking services that help develop a vibrant private sector and increase incomes and employment,” she added.
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