UBA Launches $6 Billion Initiative To Support African SMEs

Tony Elumelu

United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), the pan-African financial services firm run by Nigerian tycoon Tony Elumelu, has announced a $6 billion plan to support the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Africa.

UBA collaborated with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) secretariat to launch this ambitious financing initiative in a strategic move to support African entrepreneurs. The bank announced its intention to lend up to $6 billion to qualifying African SMEs over the next three years. This historic agreement was inked during the 30th Annual Meeting of Afreximbank in Accra, Ghana.

During the first phase of this innovative collaboration, UBA and AfCFTA are committed to encouraging the development of SMEs in four critical sectors. Agro-processing, Automotive, Pharmaceuticals, and Transport and Logistics are among the sectors that rely heavily on imports.

Both institutions will offer technical expertise and funding options as part of this collaboration to foster intra-African and domestic alternatives in these industries.

Muyiwa Akinyemi, UBA’s Deputy Managing Director, represented the bank during the agreement signing. He underscored UBA’s commitment to assisting the growth and development of SMEs across the African continent, which aligns with the bank’s strategy focus on this sector as a catalyst for African economic prosperity.

UBA is a significant player in Nigeria’s financial services sector, with operations in 24 countries across four continents, including the United Kingdom, the United States, France, and the United Arab Emirates. The bank plays an important role in the African financial environment.

Tony Elumelu, who owns 7.39 percent of UBA, or 2,527,372,285 ordinary shares, is not just one of the Nigerian Exchange’s wealthiest investors, but also one of the country’s richest men. He is widely regarded as one of the country’s most successful bankers.

Under Elumelu’s leadership, UBA had outstanding financial results in the first half of 2023. Profits increased by 437.8 percent, rising from N70.34 billion ($94.7 million) in the first half of 2022 to an amazing N378.23 billion ($512.4 million) in the same period in 2023.

Profits have increased dramatically as a result of the revaluation of investment instruments in Naira values. Following the unification of the Naira in the second quarter of 2023, this revaluation resulted in a foreign exchange revaluation gain of N418.27 billion ($566.6 million) in the first half of 2023.

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