French President, Emmanuel Macron, has launched an initiative to support and empower African entrepreneurs.
The “Choose Africa” initiative, launched March 15, 2019, will invest €2.5 billion in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Africa by 2022.
Under the initiative, €1 billion in equity investment will be mobilised for African start-ups and MSMEs and €1.5 billion will facilitate access to credit for MSMEs through local public or private financial institutions like microfinance institutions, banks and leasing companies.
The AFD Group (Agence Française de Développement) and Proparco, its private sector financing-arm, will be mobilised in support of close to 10,000 African businesses at different stages of development.
The initiative will also offer technical support to financial institutions in their support of SMEs, to train companies and entrepreneurs to improve their environmental, social or governance practices.
As of present, only 20% of African SMEs have access to a bank loan and 87% of start-ups do not have access to funding.
Through solutions offered by AFD and Proparco, “Choose Africa” will provide financing to meet the specific needs of businesses, based on their stage of development.
The AFD Group also supports local incubators and accelerators, to make start-ups and SMEs with high-impact potential investment ready, sustainable and scalable.