Executive Director, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Emem Usoro has said the pan-African financial institution is at the forefront of supporting Small and Midsize Enterprises (SMEs) and Agriculture sectors, as both have proven to be the bedrock of any economy.
She said the two sectors in Nigeria are receiving adequate support from banks, demanding from stakeholders’ improvement in some areas.
Usoro in an interview extract said the bank recently signed an agreement with the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat to invest $6billion as funding for African Small and Medium Enterprises within the next three years.
According to her, the breakdown of the $6billion investment shows that a total of $1.2billion has been budgeted for the year 2023, $1.9billion for 2024 and $2.88billion for 2025.
“By this agreement, UBA with the aim of boosting intra-Africa trade, will provide financial services in four main areas which are agro-processing, automotive, pharmaceuticals, and transport and logistics, to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in all the 20 African countries where UBA operates.
“These countries are Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, Congo DRC, Chad and Cameroon.
“One of the key initiatives of the AfCFTA Agreement focuses on improving access to finance and markets for SMEs to encourage their growth and contribution to the socio-economic development of Africa,” Usoro explained.
She expressed that UBA Nigeria’s strategic goal remains to lead in Nigeria by having more than 15per cent of the total deposit market share and being among the top three most profitable bank.