File Photo: Employees are at work at a Diamond cutting and polishing company in Gaborone, Botswana. AFP
AforE aims to support the private sector, entrepreneurship, and the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the continent, the IFC said in a press release.
The alliance was first announced at the Summit on Financing of African Economies in Paris that was held in May 2021.
It will combine and focus technical and financial tools with a mission of improving Africa’s business environment as well as shoring up the growth and success of SMEs, women in business, and young entrepreneurs, according to the IFC.
AforE’s core members include the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI), the French Treasury, the IFC, and Proparco — the private sector financing arm of Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD Group).
“The launch of the alliance comes as African economies recover and rebuild from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with small businesses seen as important drivers of job creation, innovation, and the delivery of essential goods and services,” said the IFC.
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs in Africa are drivers of inclusive growth, economic stability, and resilience. Supporting their growth will be critical to creating jobs and helping Africa recover from the COVID-19 crisis. And the Alliance for Entrepreneurship in Africa stands ready to do that. AforE deepens the partnership between international partners to give small businesses the support they need and deserve,” said Makhtar Diop, the IFC’s managing director.
Solomon Quaynor — the AfDB’s vice president for private sector, infrastructure, and industrialisation — noted that micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises are vital to Africa’s prosperity, as they represent 90 percent of all businesses and generate more than half of all jobs.
“Supporting existing businesses and the ecosystem for entrepreneurs to create innovative new ones lies at the heart of our private sector development strategy,” Quaynor added.