NAIROBI, (The Southern African Times) – The private sector arm of the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC) on Tuesday joined hands with several multilateral lenders to launch an alliance aimed at fostering growth of small businesses in Africa.
Dubbed the “Alliance for Entrepreneurship in Africa (AforE)”, the initiative seeks to harness technical and financial strength of multilateral lenders to spur growth of Africa’s small and medium-sized enterprises owned by women and youth, IFC said in a joint statement issued in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
Makhtar Diop, IFC’s managing director, noted that African start-ups are key to the continent’s inclusive growth, stability and resilience in the face of climatic shocks, hence the need to stimulate their growth through fiscal and policy incentives.
Other signatories to the alliance for promoting growth of African start-ups include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank(EIB), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the French government.
It is expected the alliance will hasten recovery of small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa amid sluggish growth linked to the pandemic besides ensuring they are part of global supply chains.
Additionally, the alliance will expand financing options for the start-ups, support creation of a robust investment climate in the continent alongside digitization and greening of new enterprises.
Solomon Quaynor, the AfDB’s vice president for the Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization said the alliance will help unlock financing to African start-ups, create new jobs and address inequalities.
“We want to ensure that African entrepreneurs have the means to thrive and can play an important part in solving Africa’s development challenges,” said Quaynor, adding that foundations, venture capital firms, innovators and academia are expected to join the alliance for fostering growth of African start-ups.