Africa Union, Ecobank Launch MSME Academy
By Adedapo Adesanya
As part of efforts to support 100,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria, the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the Ecobank Group have launched the MSME Academy to provides easy access to practical training and resources on financing opportunities in various countries.
The academy will also teach MSMEs how to build a digital presence for businesses and how to adapt business operations in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Touted as a Pan-African initiative, MSME Academy offers free access to market intelligence, a host of mentors with a diverse experience while assisting with access to funding opportunities.
The MSME Academy will have three components: an informational webinar with invited speakers, a series of virtual instructor-led training and mentorship for the MSMEs.
September 3 will mark the debut for the first series of informational webinars tailored for MSME operating in Nigeria. The first webinar is set to provide tips on access to finance and building a digital presence.
MSMEs interested have been directed to register to the MSME Academy at https://msmeacademy.nepad.org/
An initiative of the AUDA-NEPAD 100K MSMEs programme, the MSME Academy, is focused on the implementation of the Agenda 2063 Aspiration number one which aims at building a Prosperous Africa, based on Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development.
The programme will provide support to African MSMEs and is structured in two other pillars alongside the MSME Academy. These are MSME Marketplace and MSME Financing Support Programme.
While the academy aims to build the capacities of MSMEs across Africa through a combination of relevant content library, a network of institutions specialized in MSME support such as incubators and accelerators, and a community of peers, mentors, and advisors, the MSME Marketplace is a consolidated marketplace of marketplaces, enabling MSMEs to access e-commerce, procurement and alternative financing opportunities across the continent.
On the other hand, the MSME Financing Support Program is a scheme that will bring together financial institutions, guarantee funds, and other institutions to reduce the cost of risk for lenders to deliver capital to MSMEs at scale.
It was disclosed that the objective is to radically expand access to finance by aggregating smaller financial institutions such as micro-credit institutions and credit unions that have access to micro-enterprises, standardising their processes, and building trust in their capabilities.
According to the organisers, these will be delivered through an MSME Digital Platform: a one-stop-shop for all MSMEs across Africa to access all these three programmes which jointly address MSMEs’ challenges with access to capacity building, markets, and capital.
The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD is the development agency of the African Union, coordinating and executing priority regional and continental development projects to promote regional integration towards the accelerated realisation of Agenda 2063 – Africa’s vision and action plan.
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) is the parent company of the Ecobank Group, the leading independent pan-African banking group, employing over 14,800 people and serving more than 23 million customers in the consumer, commercial, and corporate banking sectors across 33 African countries.