• Monday, July 22, 2024
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New funding sources open for entrepreneurs

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New funding sources are opening for Nigerian and African entrepreneurs that play in either the local or the international market.

At the continental level, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) supports African exporters and entrepreneurs with funds to enable them compete effectively with global players in African markets, according to Jean-Louis Ekra, Afreximbank president.

The African Export-Import Bank  (Afreximbank) is the foremost Pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade. It was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors.

Speaking during a business forum organised by the bank and the Egyptian ministry of industry, trade and small and medium enterprises to present the outlines of Afreximbank’s $500 million Egypt-Africa Trade Promotion Programme, Ekra said that the beneficiaries included an Egyptian exporter of heavy infrastructure equipment who the bank had helped to export products worth hundreds of millions of dollars to more than five African countries in the past three years.

“Thanks to our support, Egyptian engineering firms have been able to win construction contracts in Nigeria, Kenya and Algeria despite stiff competition from international players,” he went on, adding that it was to Afreximbank’s credit that the financing of the tobacco trade between Egypt and Malawi was concluded effectively even at the height of the political crisis in Egypt in 2011.

Nigerian cocoa entrepreneurs, especially exporters, have also had funding assistance from the bank. The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) said in December 2014 that it had provided about $350 million  in financing to support cocoa processing activities in the African four major cocoa producing countries, notably Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon.

Apart from Afreximbank, Nextzon Business Services Limited, a consulting firm supporting businesses and start-ups, is managing Oxfam’s €100m patient capital directed at supporting many SMEs. A qualifying SME can get as much as one million Euros from Nextzon.

“Majorly, we are looking at high impact-making sectors, sectors that create environmental and social impacts, in terms of job creation, growth in wages and all that,” Wale Ogunsola, head, SMEs and venture capital at Nextzon, told Start-Up Digest.

More so, the Bank of Industry (BoI) manages several funds that can help grow small and medium enterprises as they have the opportunity of accessing funds at single-digit rates. The development bank has a number of funding programmes such as Cottage Agro Processing (CAP) Fund, Dangote-BoI Fund, Business Fund for Women and Rice Intervention Fund.

Other funds managed by the bank are African Development Bank Line of Credit, Power and Aviation Fund,   Sugar Development Council Fund and Cotton, Textile and Garment Fund.

Already, out of 174 members of the Association of Master Bakers of Nigeria who have indicated interest in the Cassava Bread Fund Initiative managed by the BoI, 100 have received N989 million from the bank which is working in collaboration with the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development

Cassava Bread Fund Initiative is a scheme targeted at providing funds to bakers to acquire baking equipment and achieve inclusion of about 20 percent cassava flour into wheat flour for baking of cassava bread and  other confectionary.

“As partners, the bank enjoins the beneficiaries to ensure timely fulfillment of the agreed conditions precedent to loan disbursement as specified in the agreement governing the scheme to enable the Bank serve them better,” the bank said. The quote by the bank is an indication that funding requires stipulated conditions that must be met by entrepreneurs.

ODINAKA ANUDU