Zenith Bank Ghana and African Guarantee Fund team up to empower MSMEs
In a bid to bolster the growth of Medium Small-Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana, Zenith Bank Ghana and the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) have forged a partnership agreement aimed at facilitating access to finance.
This strategic collaboration between two esteemed institutions seeks to not only provide financial assistance but also offer technical support to enhance the operations of MSMEs.
Speaking at the signing ceremony on February 9, 2024, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Ghana, Mr. Henry Onwuzurigbo underscored the pivotal role MSMEs play in the economy.
Citing data from the World Bank indicating that MSMEs account for approximately 90 percent of businesses and more than 50 percent of employment globally, Mr. Onwuzurigbo highlighted the significant contribution of MSMEs to Ghana's economy.
He emphasized that despite their importance, MSMEs often grapple with challenges, particularly in accessing finance, resulting in a considerable financing gap. Hence, the need for this partnership.
Mr. Onwuzurigbo outlined the manifold benefits of the collaboration, including risk-sharing with the Fund to extend loans to businesses that struggle to meet collateral requirements.
"The partnership will unlock opportunities for numerous entrepreneurs, fostering economic growth and job creation. Additionally, we will prioritize key sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, trade, and education, aligning with Ghana's development objectives and maximizing economic impact," explained Mr. Onwuzurigbo.
The Director-General of African Guarantee Fund-West Africa, Mr. Bendjin Kpeglo emphasized that the partnership would prioritize women-owned businesses, offering them discounted rates and increased guarantee coverage.
"This partnership with Zenith Bank will not only provide financing to SMEs but also offer technical and capacity development to empower women-owned businesses, promoting inclusivity and gender balance," stated Mr. Kpeglo.
Highlighting the positive track record of women in repayment, Mr. Kpeglo affirmed that supporting women-owned businesses is vital for economic progress.
The Zenith Bank-AGF partnership aims to provide financial and technical support to approximately 100 MSMEs initially, with plans to expand support to an additional 300 MSMEs based on performance and evaluations.