The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) in collaboration with Ecobank Group has announced the launch of the MSME Academy for over 100,000 Africa’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises with the aim of improving access to funding opportunities.
The initiative, spearheaded under the AUDA-NEPAD’s 100,000<SMEs by 2021 programme, provides easy access to practical training and resources on financing opportunities in various countries across the continent and also make available materials on how to build business presence digitally in the era of COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on the initiative, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, AUDA-NEPAD chief executive, stated that: “In this continent where the majority of the countries are low income and middle-income economies, where youth account for almost 60 per cent of all of Africa’s unemployed, the contribution of MSMEs and informal enterprises to the GDP growth and employment creation is fundamental.
“As the continent faces the socio-economic uncertainties brought about by the outbreak of COVID-19, the AUDA-NEPAD MSME Academy, which is delivered in partnership with Ecobank, aims to foster resilience and the survival of MSMEs’ in these critical times,” Mayaki further disclosed.
Eight countries, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Kenya, Cote’ d’Ivoire, Niger, Rwanda and Chad, form the first group of countries to benefit from the initiative. The programme is expected to run from August 21 through till September 23, 2020, across the eight countries.
Ade Adeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO, while commenting on the partnership towards the initiative said: “The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across Africa with serious challenges and uncertainties for our MSMEs. The MSME Academy comes at an appropriate time to provide the right level of support to this vulnerable and important business segment in Africa.
“We have leveraged on the expertise of our globally recognised Ecobank Academy to develop country-specific content tailored to MSMEs in Africa and therefore encourage MSMEs to register and participate in the various available virtual training programmes,” Adeyemi stated.
Meanwhile, the organisers further hinted that the initiative will also provide access to market intelligence, while assisting with access to funding opportunities.