(Ecofin Agency) - The International Finance Corporation announced the investment of $2 billion to support SMEs and boost trade activity in Africa.
In detail, $1 billion will come in the form of mezzanine financing and risk-sharing instruments (guarantees) for SMEs while the second billion will go for essential goods’ import-export businesses, including food and medical products.
"The total amount of $ 2 billion is one of the largest commitments ever made by the IFC for specific initiatives in Africa [...] It will increase funding to SMEs, considered the backbone of African economies [...], and will ensure trade flows, mainstays of economic activity on the continent, " Senegalese Makhtar Diop, MD of IFC, said in a recent statement.
This announcement comes as Africa is facing the covid-19 pandemic, whose economic repercussions have weakened an already fragile private sector. The pandemic has led to an 18% decline in foreign direct investment on the continent.
IFC's initiative aims to "create the conditions for an inclusive and sustainable recovery" in the post-covid-19 period, Makhtar Diop said. Priority will be given to sectors hard hit by the pandemic, as well as affected businesses with particular focus on high-potential sectors that are vital for economies and populations, such as financial services, agribusiness, green energy, and sustainable agriculture.
Let’s note that SMEs represent about 90% of businesses on the continent and the financing gap for these companies is estimated at $330 billion.