African SMEs: UBA, CDB seal $100m deal

United Bank for Africa Plc, a pan-African banking group and China Development Bank, the world’s largest development finance institution, have signed a $100 million seven-year loan agreement to finance the development of Small and Medium Enterprises in Africa.

The facility will enhance UBA’s capacity to provide access to finance to small businesses across the 19 African countries where the bank currently operates.

The Group Managing Director, UBA, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, said, “We are excited to partner with CDB, the Development Financial Institution of the Chinese Government, on this historic transaction, as we strongly believe that the facility will serve as a catalyst to the sustainable development of commerce and industry in Africa through provision of critical financial interventions to SMEs across our presence countrie.”

Uzoka noted that this line of credit was timely, as it would complement the recovery of economic activities and further encourage African entrepreneurship, particularly as the funds will be applied to SMEs, which are important for inclusive growth on the continent.

The Chairman, UBA Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, said that the fund will boost small and medium scale enterprises across Africa, noting that CDB’s interest in supporting SMEs aligns with UBA’s vision in growing business across Africa.

“In UBA, CDB would have an enduring partner in reaching out to Africans as UBA provides banking services to over 14 million people across 20 African countries, and like CDB, UBA funds critical infrastructural projects on the continent,“ Elumelu said.

The President of CDB, Zheng Zhijie, said the agreement was the beginning of cooperation between UBA and CDB, that would translate into an enduring business relationship between China and Africa, and Nigeria in particular.

“UBA is a leading and dependable bank not only in Nigeria but Africa, and this partnership will help our Bank to accelerate its business objectives in Africa, more importantly as we deepen our investment in energy, road and rail constructions, infrastructure in Africa,” Zhije said.