The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc; a bank started by one of Africa’s most celebrated entrepreneur and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu, has set aside NGN 50 Bn for the financing of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
UBA, one of Nigeria’s homegrown leading financial institutions, said it was channelling ample attention into the funding, development and growth of SMEs in Africa — a sector, the bank believes, holds the key to stimulating the continent’s economy.
Group Managing Director, UBA, Kennedy Uzoka, confirmed the bank’s unwavering commitment to incubating SMEs at the opening of the UBA Market Place; an event which took place in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, over the weekend.
The UBA Market Place is an entrepreneurship fair, featuring exhibitors from up to 20 African countries, and it took place on the sidelines of this year’s Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum, which turned out a resounding success.
Uzoka intimated that UBA had set up targeted initiatives to make SMEs more viable and better established across Africa.
“That void we discovered is how to bring more buyers and sellers together and that is what we have done today. The UBA Market Place has brought together under one roof, more than 5,000 SMEs from across Africa. We want to create a platform in Africa similar to Alibaba and ebay,” he said.
The GMD also offered that Africa’s youth are full of ideas that could change the standard of living and reduce poverty on the continent and that is why the bank is passionate about supporting SMEs.
Echoing the thoughts of the GMD was UBA’s Group Head, Retail Banking, Jude Anele, who also expressed similar sentiments while stating that 10 percent of the bank’s total balance sheet had been earmarked to support SMEs in countries where the bank operates in Africa.
On the African continent, UBA currently has a presence in Nigeria, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Congo Brazzaville, France and Guinea Conakry, Kenya and Mali.
Other African countries where it is making its presence felt are Sierra Leone, Zambia, Cameroon, Congo DRC, Gabon, Mozambique and Tanzania.
In Nigeria alone, about NGN 50 Bn has been set aside from the bank’s portfolio for SMEs financing, that’s according to the Retail Banking Head. And this is expected to be replicated, to some extent, in other African countries; supporting the philosophy of the bank’s Founder, Tony Elumelu, who is an ardent believer in entrepreneurship and the potential in youth.
Featured Image Courtesy: pulse.ng