Non-banking financial institution, Africa Guarantee Fund (AGF) has received the sum of $2.5 million investment grant from USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub to support high-potential Small and Medium Scale (SME) businesses in the region alongside the companies that finance them.
This is coming as an aid to SMEs as most of them in the region battle with gaining back their feet due to the post COVID-19 challenges.
According to its press release made available by Nairametrics, the received funds will add to the $20 million private equity funds and will be used to support its two-part COVID-19 Guarantee Facility.
The aggregated $22.5 million co-investment will aid AGF in absorbing additional pandemic-related risks and provide its guarantees Partner Financial Institutions (PFIs) on more favourable terms and conditions while remaining financially sustainable.
Speaking on the funds gotten, Jules Ngankam, AGF’s Group Chief Executive Officer said that the Guarantee Facility is a response to the COVID-19 related challenges. He also added that AGF is excited in patterning with the Trade Hub in order to increase its capacity in bridging the SME financing gap through innovative initiatives.
“Despite the internationally recognized importance of SMEs, African small businesses often have difficulties accessing financing for growth and innovation from the formal financial sector”, Ngankam said.
He added, “Over the past two years, SME financing challenges have further escalated due to economic uncertainties brought about by the impact of the pandemic.”
Speaking on the partnership, Robin Wheeler, the Trade Hub’s Chief of Party added that similar collaborations in the past yielded positive results.
He said, “Similar partnerships with Cordaid Investment Management and CrossBoundary, launched in 2021, are already showing success in bringing together the partners, capital, and resources that create a more stable environment for SMEs to grow and make a positive impact in the region. We are excited to add AGF as a co-investment partner.”
As expected through the COVID-19 Guarantee Facility, AGF will issue loan guarantees to 30 partner financial institutions (PFIs), allowing them to unlock up to $160 million in financing for approximately 3,000 West Africa-based SMEs impacted by the pandemic.
In addition, it is expected to provide technical assistance to the PFIs and SMEs benefiting from the COVID-19 Guarantee Facility to accelerate their post-pandemic recovery.
During AGF’s three-year partnership with the Trade Hub, the COVID-19 Guarantee Facility is expected to help SMEs create 15,000 new jobs, maintain 20,000 existing jobs, and collectively generate $100 million in sales and $8 million in exports.