Tony Okpanachi, the Managing Director of the Development Bank of Nigeria, has commended the establishment MSME Academy, an initiative of Ecobank, African Union Development Agency and NEPAD.
Okpanachi, who was speaking at the virtual launch of the first Pan-African MSME Academy, said the AUDA-NEPAD and Ecobank partnership must be lauded as an entrepreneurial potential.
He said that DBN would continue to collaborate with financial institutions to assist small-scale industries with all necessary support to play their roles in the economy.
In his presentation on: “How MSMEs can access funding – opportunities from financial Institutions/banking sector,” Okpanachi said MSMEs must have accurate financial statements, collaterals, good credit history, viable business model and sound corporate governance, among others, to be bankable.
Patrick Akinwuntan, the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, pledged the bank’s support for small businesses operating in the country, stressing that the MSMEs sub sector was the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the sub-sector needed to be supported in revamping the nation’s economy.
Akinwuntan described MSMEs are drivers of post COVID-19 economic recovery for Nigeria and advised that the sub sector should take advantage of technology, financial services and support from the government to drive the survival and growth of their businesses.
He said the MSME Academy was providing easy access to practical training and resources on financing opportunities in various countries in Africa on how to build digital presence for businesses.
Akinwuntan said the academy was also providing opportunities to MSME on how to adapt business operations in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “As an MSME-friendly bank, we have been helping them with capacity building; providing simple and easy access to loans in various sectors including agriculture, creative industry, healthcare and commerce amongst others; access to markets via our e-commerce solutions and simple but robust digital platforms for collections and payments.
“We have also provided a channel to enable MSMEs to open various accounts via self-service on our webpage. I encourage all MSMEs in the country to avail themselves of this opportunity to grow their business.”
Amine Idriss Adoum, a Director in AUDA-NEPAD, said the MSME Academy aimed 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.
Adoum said the key objectives of the academy were to radically expand access to finance by aggregating smaller financial institutions such as micro-credit institutions and credit unions that had access to micro-enterprises, standardising their processes, and building trust in their capabilities.
He said: “The MSME Digital Platform is 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 News Agency of Nigeria reports that the first Panafrican MSME Academy is open to medium, small and micro enterprises in Nigeria and across Africa.
The programme provides support to African MSMEs and is structured along three pillars – the MSME Academy, MSME Marketplace, and MSME Financing Support to be delivered through an MSME Digital platform.