African Development Bank
Vice President, Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, African Development Bank Group
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group expects Africa’s economic growth to reach 3.2% in 2017. Economic growth, job creation and development are driven by the private sector. The bank continues to make significant investment to stimulate the growth of the competitive private sector across Africa. In September 2015, in order to bring about and enhance social and economic transformation on the continent, the bank launched five operational priorities, called the “High 5 Agenda”: Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialise Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.
Our Industrialise Africa High 5 is focused on private sector-led growth, enabled by a conducive business environment, capitalising on both domestic resources and foreign direct investment (FDI).
Creating opportunities for entrepreneurship is the most important driver of industrialisation. A key pillar of the Industrialise Africa Strategy is enterprise development – unlocking the potential of small, medium and large businesses. This requires access to capital and the development of liquid and effective local capital markets that can
better serve small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
To catalyse Africa’s transformation, the bank leverages its own resources by mobilising development finance for Africa as well as domestic resources. While progress has been made, a funding gap remains, as does a cost-of-financing issue. Capital markets are an alternative funding source for Africa’s SMEs that traditionally have had limited options for financing. AfDB is actively driving various local capital markets initiatives, including promoting development of SME listing boards. To this end, the bank provided funding to pay for the advisory services for SMEs preparing to list on the Ghana Alternative Exchange.
“The initiative aims to provide equity, through venture capital funds, to support early-stage and start-up SMEs across Africa”
AfDB’s Africa SME Program is a $129m initiative, providing multi-currency lines of credit and technical assistance to financial institutions focused on SMEs across Africa. In 2016, the bank, in partnership with the European Investment Bank, launched the “Boost Africa” initiative to unlock the potential of African entrepreneurs under our “Jobs for Youth in Africa” strategy. The initiative aims to provide equity, through venture capital funds, to support early-stage and start-up SMEs across Africa. The bank channels equity investments through growth private equity funds whereby a portion of this equity goes towards financing SMEs.
This first edition of Companies to Inspire Africa showcases some African SMEs with high growth potential. Indeed, these SMEs are champions of the African economic growth story. AfDB congratulates all the featured companies and is proud to collaborate with London Stock Exchange Group.
Pierre Guislain, Vice President, Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, African Development Bank Group