The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has declared commitment to the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across Africa.
This is primarily seen in its increased funding to such businesses in Nigeria and across Africa.
This was disclosed by the bank’s deputy managing director, Muyiwa Akinyemi, who said this while delivering his keynote address at the flag-off of the 2022 Lagos International Trade Fair.
It was explained that UBA has been the lead sponsorship partner for the annual event since 2019.
Contributing on the theme: “Connecting Businesses, Creating Value”, Akinyemi explained that armed with the firm belief that SMEs remains the bedrock of any country’s economic development, UBA has pioneered products and services specifically targeted at SMEs and young entrepreneurs towards meeting their financial needs, having access to markets and building capacity.
“We are focused on creating value, connecting and facilitating business across Africa and between Africa with the rest of the world. Already, we have done a trade of about $7.7 billion and Export trade of about $29.4 billion as at August 2022,” he explained.
“It will also interest you all to know that we match our words with action as we have supported hundreds of SMEs in Africa especially in countries where we have presence.
In his words, “UBA does this not only in the manufacturing and services sectors but also in the creative industry and Fintech.”
Akinyemi was speaking in the presence of dignitaries including the governor of Lagos, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; past president, LCCI, Dr. Nike Akande; representative of the secretary to the government of the federation, Mr. Okonkwo Etoabasi; past president, LCCI, Asiwaju Solomon Onafowokan among others.
He further explained that UBA Group prioritises capacity building and valuable financial advisory services for SMEs hence the reason for regular its quarterly webinar sessions and trainings.
He also spoke on the Pan African Payment Settlement System (PAPSS), a centralised payment and settlement system for intra-African trade in goods and services that is poised to transform the payment landscape across Africa.
The bank’s DMD emphasised that, “Because of our large network and pan-African presence, UBA is working with AfrEXIM Bank through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to promote regional trade through harmonised trade documentation, easier access to finance and timely and easy currency conversion with the PAPSS platform.
Hence the UBA is at the forefront of this collaboration currently at six pilot countries in West Africa – Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Gambia,” Akinyemi stressed.
He pointed out further that following the kick-off, this will be a major boost to trade across the continent as it will help to provide flexible export financing scheme to aid export of Nigeria products & commodities.
The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, earlier in his address, appreciated UBA’s efforts and support to SMEs which have significantly impacted the growth of businesses in Lagos and beyond.
The governor seized the opportunity to restate his administration’s commitment to prioritising the growth and development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to further drive the economic growth and development of the state.
In his case, the president, LCCI, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, expressed satisfaction on the level of SMEs’ participations in this year’s fair as he commended UBA for its determined commitment to the growth of SMEs across the African continent.