(Ecofin Agency) - The Trade Access Program, jointly developed with the British International Investment, will be managed by Swiss-based Inoks Capital. It will target cash-strapped SMEs and trade intermediaries to reduce Africa's estimated US$81 billion trade deficit.
Last April, the British International Investment (BII) and Swiss asset manager Inoks Capital launched an initiative to finance small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and business intermediaries in Africa. The initiative, called Trade Access Program (TAP), was announced in a release published, today (July 5), by the BII, the UK’s development finance institution.
The TAP is endowed with an initial US$25 million capital provided by the BII. It aims to "strengthen trade across Africa by backing the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), AgriTechs, FinTechs and trade intermediaries," the release informs.
“ This new Trade Access platform […] is an innovative financing program and solution that will enable SMEs and trade intermediaries in Africa to access much-needed working capital,” commented Admi Imami, BII Head of Trade & Supply Chain Finance.
The Trade Access Program is part of a larger trade access platform set up by the BII to directly finance SMEs and trade intermediaries whose technology and digital solutions will enable the UK institution to reach much smaller companies active in local supply chains.
In Africa, SMEs still have limited access to credit. This is particularly true for those active in the agribusiness sector. The Trade Access Program will increase the loan supply for those SMEs, payment aggregators, e-commerce platforms, SME-focused banks, and microfinance institutions with liquidity needs.
The funding provided will boost trade and food supply, help develop local infrastructure and facilitate the development of targeted businesses. Through this initiative, BII and Inoks Capital intend to contribute to reducing Africa's trade deficit estimated at nearly US$81 billion.