The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has set aside N50 billion for financing of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
At the level of the Africa continent, the lender said it was devoting premium attention to funding, development and growth of SMEs in Africa, a sector, the bank believes holds the key to stimulating the continent’s economy.
Group Managing Director, UBA, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, confirmed the bank’s renewed commitment to SMEs over the weekend in Abuja at the opening of the UBA Market Place.
The UBA Market Place is an entrepreneurial fair, with exhibitors from 20 African countries, taking place on the sidelines of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum.
Uzoka said that the bank had made specific initiatives to make SMEs more viable and better established across Africa.
“We bank a lot of customers across the continent and in doing that we have discovered that there is a gap in the business value chain.
“That void we discovered is how to bring more buyers and sellers together and that is what we have done today.
“The UBA Market Place has brought together under one roof, more than 5,000 SMEs from across Africa. We want to create a platform in Africa similar to Alibaba and ebay,” he said.
Uzoka said that Africa’s youth were full of ideas that could change the standard of living and reduce poverty on the continent and that was why the bank is passionate about supporting SMEs.
Also speaking, UBA Group Head, Retail Banking, Mr. Jude Anele, said that 10 per cent of the bank’s total balance sheet had been earmarked to support SMEs in countries where the bank operates in Africa.
The countries are Nigeria, Chad, Cote D’ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Congo Brazzaville, France and Guinea Conakry, Kenya and Mali.
Others are Sierra Leone, Zambia, Cameroon, Congo DRC, Gabon, Mozambique and Tanzania.
He said in Nigeria, about N50 billion had been set aside from the bank’s portfolio for SMEs financing.