Financing SMEs : African Development Bank Proposes New Method

Officials of the African Development Bank (AfDB) are on a mission to Cameroon to explore ways of implementing a new method of financing Small and Medium-size Enterprises (SMEs). Led by the Country Director, Solomane Kone, the team was at the Ministry of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicraft on May 21, 2019.

Solomane Kone told reporters shortly after meeting with Minister Achille Bassilekin III and his team, that they reviewed measures by government to support SMEs. This, he said, would help them identify areas of priority when implementing a new programme known as “SMEs Africa,” endowed with 150 million US dollars (circa FCFA 88 billion).

“We want to reinforce direct support to SMEs. Our mission is to ensure things are done correctly. We have been helping them through the public sector, but this time around we want to help them directly through the private sector. We want to enable financial institutions to provide special lines of credit and guarantees, among others. We also want to provide technical assistance,” said he. 

Minister Achille Bassilekin III, on his part, said government had established a platform with the agency in charge of small and medium size enterprises and realised that a group of local financial institutions are interested in developing specific products for SMEs. He said the AfDB initiative fits squarely in this context. “Roughly 11 per cent of their activities are focused on financing the private sector. We believe that for Cameroon to reach its dream of becoming an emergent economy focus should be on this sector and as such, they should try to improve the capacity of specific programmes so they are private sector oriented,” he noted. 

After the courtesy visit to the Ministry of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Handicraft and Social Economy, the bank officials will meet with officials of the Agency for the Promotion of SMEs and the SME Bank, then move to Douala to meet key players in the private sector.

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