AFRICA – African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), has announced the launch of the MSME Academy, in partnership with Ecobank Group with an aim is to boost the MSME sector.

Spearheaded under the AUDA-NEPAD “100,000 MSMEs by 2021” (100K MSMEs) programme for Africa’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, the Academy provides easy 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.

“In this continent, where the majority of the countries are low income and middle-income economies, where youth account for almost 60 per cent of all of Africa’s unemployed, the contribution of MSMEs and informal enterprises to the GDP growth and employment creation is fundamental,” AUDA-NEPAD CEO Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki said.

The Academy has country specific content with world-class pan-African design to ensure the right balance between local realities (challenges and opportunities of the MSMEs) with a structured pan-African approach for the sustainability and scalability of the initiatives.

“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,” Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO, commented.

“We have leveraged on the expertise of our globally recognised Ecobank Academy to develop country specific content tailored to MSMEs in Africa and therefore encourage MSMEs to register and participate in the various available virtual training programmes.”

The first wave of countries will include Ghana, Togo, Kenya, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Rwanda and Chad.

The AUDA-NEPAD was established in 2010 to integrate the then New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) into African Union (AU) structures and processes. In 2019, NEPAD became the African Union Development Agency. AUDA-NEPAD is the Secretariat for AFR100.

It also mobilizes resources, as well as engages the global community, regional economic communities and member states to implement programs and projects.

These address issues including the economic and social exclusion of youth, industrialization, infrastructure and trade, as well as natural resources governance and food security. 

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