Leaders in the financial service sectors in Africa are gathering in Niamey, Niger to discuss ways in reducing risk on African small and medium scale businesses. 

The summit is being held under the theme  of “renewed commitment towards an inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and economic diversification”.

Speaking at the ceremoney, Ahmed Abdoulie Jallow regional director for Africa Solidarity Fund described the summit as key for leaders to find ways on how to reduce risk on small and medium businesses in Africa.

“Africa is considered to be the poorest continent, so sons and daughters will change the challenges who are ready to secure the territory of the continent,” he said, adding that the continent is battling with economic challenges due to Russia and Ukraine war.

“What Africa needs is solidarity and unity to strengthen trade and ensure increasing small scale business.”

He said that job creation is key and platforms providing job opportunity for youth and women are significant. 

“Job creation is the important factor for poverty reduction and it is for the continent to make joint decision in building good economic development to reduce risk to small businesses,” he added.

Antonio Pedro, acting executive secretary United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), said small and medium businesses played a very key role in the development of the African continent as well as paved the way for economic growth and resilience 

Mr Pedro explained that it is significant to reduce the risk encountered by small enterprises and called on the need to mitigate efforts in order to boost the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“AfCFTA Agreement alone cannot guarantee African industrialisation. It needs to be implemented. And it needs to be implemented by each of its individual state parties in such a way as to promote industrialisation and sustainable development across the continent.”

He said that adoption of the agreement in establishing AfCFTA in 2018 and its speedy entry into force in 2019 demonstrates that “Africa is finally ready for takeoff”.

Mr Pedro stated that small scale businesses are not able to have access to financial support for growth. 

He said that AfCFTA gives Africa the unique opportunity to replace its small and fragmented markets with a large single market in which goods, services, capital and people can move freely oblivious of internal boundaries.

Albert M.Muchanga, AU Commissioner for Economic Development, told delegates about the drive to industrialise Africa for improving small businesses.

The AU commissioner said that small and medium enterprises are the backbone of Africa’s economic drive.

He added that people having access to financial support need to make best use of it and pay it back if it based on credit.

Mr Muchanga said capacity building is key in support small entrepreneurs as it is the objective of small businesses to grow into large enterprises.

Dr. Ahmat Jidoud finance minister of Niger said that small businesses in Africa are facing difficulties of accessing finance and funding.

Dr Jidoud said it is important to promote small and medium enterprises through ensuring capacity building and funding. 

Reporting by Mariama Marong, in Niamey, Niger

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