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COVID-19: African Union agency to support SMEs across the continent

Ecobank Chief Executive Officer Ade Ayeyemi. Ecobank is a key partner in the MSMEs programme

Johannesburg, South Africa | XINHUA | The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) on Tuesday launched a program to help Africa’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to adapt business operations in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AUDA-NEPAD, in partnership with Ecobank Group, launched the MSME Academy which will give access to practical training and resources on financing opportunities in various countries, materials on how to build digital presence for businesses and how to adapt business operations in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The platform will also provide access to market intelligence, a host of mentors with diverse experience, while assisting with access to funding opportunities.

The MSME Academy consists of an informational webinar with invited speakers, series of virtual instructor-led training programs and mentorship for the MSMEs.

“As the continent faces the socio-economic uncertainties brought about by the outbreak of COVID-19, the AUDA-NEPAD MSME Academy which is delivered in partnership with Ecobank, aims to foster resilience and the survival of MSMEs’ in these critical times,” said AUDA-NEPAD CEO Ibrahim Assane Mayaki.

He stated that the contribution of MSMEs and informal enterprises to the gross domestic product growth and employment creation is fundamental in a continent with low-income and middle-income economies.

Ecobank CEO Ade Ayeyemi said they have used their expertise to develop country specific content tailored to MSMEs in Africa and will do virtual training programs.

“The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across Africa with serious challenges and uncertainties for our MSMEs. The MSME Academy comes at an appropriate time to provide the right level of support to this vulnerable and important business segment in Africa,” he said.

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