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Business News of Thursday, 22 July 2021


Coronavirus: Ecobank and Proparco sign GH¢50m agreement to support 500 MSMEs

The support will go towards supporting MSMEs hit by the coronavirus pandemic play videoThe support will go towards supporting MSMEs hit by the coronavirus pandemic

• Ecobank Ghana has signed a new agreement with Proparco to support MSMEs in Ghana

• The package is for GH¢50 million to help businesses hit by the coronavirus

• Present at the signing was the French Ambassador to Ghana, Ange Sophie Avé

The pan-African financial group, Ecobank, and Proparco, a subsidiary of AFD Group’s private sector financing arm, have signed a new agreement that will support at least 500 Mirco Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana.

In all, a total of GH¢50 million is to be disbursed to MSMEs across the country after assessments by the bank.

This is coming on the back of the ravages that the Coronavirus has had on especially these businesses.

Proparco has a €3.5 billion investment called Choose Africa, which is supporting MSMEs across Africa.

"What we've done with Ecobank today, is a GH¢50 million, two guarantees scheme. The first one amounted to GH¢35 million and the second one amounted to GH¢15 million. So, two guarantee schemes granted to Ecobank Ghana to support SMEs and micro-businesses," Ange-Pascal Kouassi, the Country Director of Proparco told GhanaWeb on the sidelines of the signing agreement.

Giving a further breakdown of the way this will work, the French Ambassador to Ghana, Ange Sophie Avé, explained that since banks already work and know many of these SMEs, it is the hope that they can leverage on that advantage and identify the right SMEs to benefit from this new agreement.

She stated that if they have the capacity, they will support more than the targeted 500 SMEs for now, hopeful that this will help them get around the Coronavirus pandemic.

"Proparco has got this 3.5 million euro in all Africa to support SMEs but there are so many SMEs that it is impossible for Proparco, with only one person, for instance in Ghana, to study every single request from every single SMEs.

"So, the way they operate is they partner with banks because they know the SMEs because the companies have accounts in these banks because they are followed up by these banks. So, when the SMEs come to these agencies to ask for loans or support or for technical assistance, they're already known. We hope to support something like 500 SMEs altogether, more if we can," she explained.

On his part, Daniel Nii Kwei-Kumah Sackey, the Managing Director of Ecobank Ghana said,

"COVID-19 has hit and one of the sectors that has suffered most is SMEs in terms of destruction in their value chain and the need for them now to rebuild it, to be able to rebuild capacity. So, having funding that allows SMEs to expand capacity and to rebuild lost supply chains is important in helping the recovery not only of the sector but of the economy," he said.

He continued that although these SMEs appear small, they employ quite a huge number of persons, helping the economy and there is the need to support them to grow and expand.

"If you look at the multiplying effects of SMEs and their capacity to generate employment, these are small businesses but the number of people they are directly employing will be over 20,000, not to talk about the indirect linkages, so, this is a very important issue for us," he stressed.

The agreement was signed by the French Ambassador to Ghana, Ange Sophie Avé, Ecobank Managing Director, Daniel Nii Kwei-Kumah Sackey, and Ange-Pascal Kouassi, Country Director of Proparco.