KENYA – Equity Group Holding, a financial service holding company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFTCTA) to accelerate the KSh678 billion (US$6 billion) Regional Private Sector Economic Recovery and Resilience Stimulus Plan.

Under the partnership, Equity Group will focus on key strategic pillars including agriculture and the extractive sectors, manufacturing and logistics, trade and investment, MSMEs, Social and environmental transformation & catalyzing technology-enabled economies.

Speaking during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) event held in Lusaka Zambia, James Mwangi, Equity Group Holdings, MD and CEO underscored the importance of regional integration to the growth of the African economy.

“The coming together of AfCFTA and Equity Group gives us an opportunity to serve our motherland through integrating trade in the region through our communities & the various trading blocks, we want to be resilient for future shocks so we are proposing to build back better by creating one African market, the enabler of wealth creation and expansion of opportunities,” Mwangi said.

“By working together, we shall design frameworks for the socio-economic transformation of the people of the African continent.

“We want Africa to move away from exporting raw materials to value addition. This will create millions of jobs for our young people and add value through manufacturing, agro-processing, and value addition in mining.”

The partnership will among others, support the creation of 50 million jobs by 2025 and 5 million SMEs will receive loans to scale and grow, utilising tools of the AfCFTA Agreement and create additional private sector lending with an envisaged loan book to be directed to agriculture (30%), manufacturing (15%), MSMEs (65%).

AFCTA Secretary General – H.E. Wamkele Mene said that the continent has the potential to consolidate markets to harness the capacity of its natural resources and skills to build back better.

“We look forward to the joint implementation of Equity’s Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan together with Equity and the AUDA. Trade is a main driver of economic activity in Africa,” Mene remarked.

“To accelerate the recovery of the continent, we need to ensure that we are well prepared to respond to any sort of crisis.”

Equity’s interventions through the recovery and resilience plan aims to finance and build capacity for 5 million SMEs by providing them access to financing that will see them scale and grow their businesses.

The recovery plan will have a special focus on youth and women, supporting them to be the primary drivers of creating and expanding opportunities in the real economy.

As the continent’s technical interface with Africa’s development stakeholders and development partners for realisation of accelerated regional integration, the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) will collaborate with the institutions through various means, including project financing, trade enhancement and fund mobilisation.

Liked this article? Subscribe to DealStreet Africa News, our regular email newsletter with the latest news, deals, and insights from Africa’s businesseconomy, and more. SUBSCRIBE HERE