AfCFTA, UBA ink deal to boost SME participation in intra-African trade
June 21, 20230
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African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and the United Bank for Africa (UBA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) late Monday on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate fully in intra-African trade.
Through the partnership, the UBA will dedicate 6 billion U.S. dollars for the capacity building of qualified African SMEs which want to participate in intra-African trade under the AfCFTA.
During the signing ceremony, Wamkele Mene, secretary-general of the AfCFTA Secretariat, said the MoU is based on the shared vision of the AfCFTA and the UBA to transform the African economy by strengthening SMEs to deepen their critical role as the engine of economic growth.
Mene said the partnership will focus on developing four priority areas of pharmaceuticals, transport and logistics, automotive, and agriculture and agro-processing.
“These four sectors present Africa with the greatest opportunity to accelerate import substitution and boost intra-continental trade,” said the secretary-general, adding that the partnership will allow the SMEs to take full advantage of opportunities under the continental free trade agreement.”
Muyiwa Akinyemi, deputy managing director of the UBA, emphasized that partnering with the AfCFTA is the best way to drive the growth of SMEs in Africa. “Africa can only be developed by Africans, and SMEs are the drivers of industrialization on the continent.”
He said developing transport and logistics and creating market access will help SMEs overcome challenges to play their critical roles in job creation, wealth creation and poverty reduction on the continent.
“We can work together to do the great things that will transform Africa into a preferred investment destination,” he added.