The African Guarantee Fund (AGF) on Thursday signed a protocol agreement, worth US$ 100 million, with the Cameroonian Cartel of Businesses (GICAM) and a consortium of banks to set up a pilot project for financing and supporting Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Cameroon.
The banks are the Société Générale de Banques au Cameroun (SGBC), the Banque Internationale Du Cameroun Pour L’epargne Et Le Credit (BICEC), Afriland First Bank, Ecobank, and the Banque Gabonaise et Française Internationale (BGFI).
In a press statement here Thursday, the partners said “the inaccessibility of finance is a major obstacle to small business growth and development, with only 20% of African SMEs receiving a credit line from a financial institution.
“The facilities received under this project will allow Cameroonian SMEs to position themselves competitively on the market of the Central African region and Nigeria.”
Commenting on the measures, GICAM’s President, Andre Fotso, said: “This one-of a kind agreement reaffirms GICAM’s commitment to support small- and medium-sized businesses and will further enable the SME sector play a critical role in the socio-economic development of Cameroon.”
According to the statement, the latest accord comes just weeks after AGF signed a US$ 50 million guarantee facility agreement with Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (Ecobank), the leading pan-African banking group.
Also speaking, Felix Bikpo, the Chief Executive Officer of AGF, added: “This agreement is of great significance as it provides a platform through which Cameroonian SMEs will be assisted not only in getting increased access to financing, but also capacity development support to enhance their managerial capabilities.
“This partnership is another manifestation of AGF’s role as the missing link to increasing the financing of African SMEs by banks and non-bank financial institutions,” Bikpo added.