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The African Guarantee Fund and United Bank for Africa have signed a partnership that will benefit Small and Medium Enterprises across 20 African countries.

According to a statement from UBA on Monday, the AGF under this agreement will support and guarantee SMEs with a $50m Portfolio Guarantee as well as facilitate extensive capacity development for the bank’s customers who run small businesses across the continent, paying special attention to women-led businesses and green finance projects.

UBA’s Group Managing Director, Oliver Alawuba, who spoke during the partnership signing ceremony at the bank’s Head Office in Lagos, said that as Africa’s global bank, UBA remained committed to supporting SMEs in Africa, especially to women-founded and managed businesses.

 “Through this, we will provide loans to women-owned SMEs at more concessional rates, with customer-friendly collateral terms, aiming to bridge the significant financing gap faced by women in Africa, amounting to $42bn,” Alawuba affirmed.

Also, the Group CEO of the African Guarantee Fund, Jules Ngankam, asserted that the partnership between two pan-African institutions that are both at the forefront of catalysing growth and development of SMEs would significantly drive economic growth across the continent.

 “Through this guarantee facility and the technical capacity development grant support, we will de-risk SMEs with a priority on those that are owned or led by women and those that are within the green sector,” he said.

This partnership follows an announcement made by UBA and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat in September 2024. The partnership will help the bank fulfil its $6bn commitment to SMEs across Africa under the AfCFTA initiative.

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