AFRICA – African Guarantee Fund, a market-friendly guarantee scheme that aims at easing access to finance for African small SMEs, has appointed Jules Ngankam as its new Group Chief Executive Officer.

Prior to his appointment as CEO, Mr. Ngankam served the fund as Acting Group CEO as from the beginning of July 2020, when the founding CEO transitioned to Board Chairman.

According to a statement from AGF, Ngankam- a Cameroonian national-  joined African Guarantee Fund in 2013 as the Chief Finance Officer before being promoted to Deputy CEO in April 2017.

Ngankam is a graduate of statistics and economics from ENSAE Paris- a branch school of École Polytechnique for statistics, data science and machine learning.

He also holds a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Paris Dauphine in France.

His appointment comes at a time when lenders across the continent are in dire need of cushioning to support them as they lend to SMEs.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the closures and reduced working hours recommended to curb the spread of the virus.

A study by Brookings found that micro and small businesses experienced a larger decline in businesses activity compared to medium and large firms.

A report by the International Labor Organization notes that more than 75% of SMEs are experiencing or expecting a reduction in revenues through 2020.

Ngankam’s first responsibility as the CEO of AGF would thus be to ensure SMEs in Africa are adequately supported financially so that they can remain resilient during the COVID-19 period.

“I am grateful and humbled to take up this position. AGF has succeeded over the years to make a difference in our continent’s economy by unlocking financing for SMEs, and I look forward to even greater results.”

Jules Ngankam – CEO Africa Guarantee Fund

African Guarantee Fund Board of Directors also approved the implementation of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA).

AFAWA is an initiative being undertaken jointly with the African Development Bank which aims to address all critical elements of the entrepreneurship ecosystem of women in business in Africa.

The initiative particularly focuses on providing women with finance, supporting their economic empowerment, reducing vulnerability, and unleashing unused potential for more sustainable and equitable growth.

Speaking at the Board Meeting, the new chairman, Felix Bikpo congratulated Ngankam and wished him success in his new role.

He also thanked the Board of Directors for their continued support to the Group, citing AFAWA’s approval, which will be a game-changer for African women entrepreneurs.

The AGF was designed in 2012 and is funded by the AfDB in partnership with the governments of Denmark and Spain.

It provides financial guarantees to financial institutions to stimulate financing to SMEs and unlock their potential to deliver inclusive growth in the region.

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