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African Guarantee Fund (AGF) and the Beninese subsidiary of the pan-African banking conglomerate, Ecobank, have entered a new partnership to provide loans to several small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Benin.
AGF is providing the portfolio guarantee line totaling 1.6 billion CFA Francs (US$ 2.57 million) to Ecobank Benin which will help the financing of the green economy and empower women employment in the country.
The guarantee will allow the financing of the green economy through the SMEs, accelerating sustainable development in Benin. The deal for the fund was signed by Bendjin Kpeglo, Managing Director of AGF West Africa, and Lazare Noulekou, Managing Director of Ecobank Benin at the banks the headquarters in Cotonou.
“The aim is to alleviate the difficulties linked to the lack of guarantees encountered by SMEs and which constitute an obstacle to the financing of their activities while promoting the development of female leadership in the private sector,” Noulekou commented.
The deal between AGF and Ecobank is mainly focused on the implementation of the UNs’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5), which focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The initiative of AGF and Ecobank will build on the AfDB’s Affirmative Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program that aims to release a total loan of US$ 2 billion dollars for the financing of SMEs working in the green energy sector and is managed mainly by women.
The AGF-Ecobank partnership expects to achieve its target by 2030. The initiative will support Benin’s initiatives to increase job creation, reduce poverty levels and boost economic growth. In 2018, President Patrice Talon launched the National Development Program (NDP) which supports a number of investments in the electricity and transport sector focusing on technological innovation, reduction of carbon emissions, etc.