FINANCIAL and banking leaders and experts from across West and Central Africa will participate in the European Investment Bank’s 2021 SME Banking and Microfinance Academy, the first to be held in the region. More than 1,000 banking, microfinance and development finance participants from 67 countries will share technical and practical experience of successfully increasing access to finance by smallholders, entrepreneurs and business in the fully bilingual virtual event.
‘The European Investment Bank recognises the importance of ensuring that private sector financing unlocks sustainable economic and social development. This inaugural EIB West and Central Africa SME Banking and Microfinance Academy brings together partners that share the same goal and long term objective of strengthening resilience and unlocking economic and social opportunities for local communities, small holder farmers and entrepreneurs across Africa. Building on a previous best-practice sharing that strengthened specialist skills for more than 40,000 African financial professionals for the benefit of many more entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers, I am convinced of the success of the Academy.’ said Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President.
Opened by Jobst von Kirchmann, European Union Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire and hosted by the European Investment Bank’s Regional Representation for West Africa in Abidjan, the Banking and Microfinance Academy will provide an opportunity for African and international financial partners to share experience of supporting economic resilience crucial to address the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, accelerating digitalisation and green finance, and improving access to finance by women, remote communities and vulnerable groups.
Over two days, experts from leading financial institutions, the EIB and partners Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A) will share practical insights and technical best-practice that will further strengthen access to finance and facilitate investments in targeted sectors particularly in climate change mitigation and adaptation, social, gender, and the advancement of innovation and digital technology.
Central Bank governors from across West and Central Africa will also participate and discuss current challenges and financial services trends.
Expanding successful exchange of banking best-practice to West and Central Africa
The 2021 SME Banking and Microfinance Academy is the first time that the European Investment Bank has held the event in West and Central Africa. This follows previous banking and microfinance Academies held in East and Southern Africa since 2016.and dedicated best-practice training with more than 40,000 financial services professionals across Africa.
Banking professionals and private sector SME banking and microfinance clients across Africa already benefit from dedicated business management, banking risk management and specialised training provided by the European Investment Bank through technical assistance programmes across Africa.
Over the last decade the EIB has provided dedicated training for financial professionals in 288 banks and microfinance partners and enhanced business skills for entrepreneurs, small holder farmers and refugees across the continent.
Driving transformational change through increased access to finance
The 2021 SME Banking and Microfinance Academy will allow African and international banking and microfinance practitioners from across west and central Africa to share insights into the latest banking best-practices. Experience from previous academies in Nairobi and Pretoria have shown how closer cooperation and knowledge sharing is key to expanding access to finance to targeted market segments, to overcome key challenges and to foster and accelerate high-impact investment.
Participants will exchange experience and expertise on financing climate action, scaling up digitalisation, enabling financing to better reflect the needs of private sector entrepreneurs, smallholders and agriculture, and ensure that female entrepreneurs and women led business can overcome banking barriers.
Speakers will also highlight how to financial institutions are reinforcing digital investment to improve financial services delivery, sustainability reporting as well as to enhance environmental and social ratings.
Building on 58 years of EIB support for private sector growth and transformational investment across Africa
In recent years the European Investment Bank has worked with West and Central African based financial partners including Baobab, ECOBANK, Microcred, Kafo Jiginew, BDEAC, Société Génerale, Commercial Bank of Cameroon and PRO PME to enhance access to specialist and targeted finance.
The EIB promotes the development of the financial sector through technical assistance for both financial intermediaries and private sector final beneficiaries to strengthen managerial and financial skills.
Recent programmes have provided targeted support for African banking institutes. This includes recent partnership between the EIB and International Monetary Fund to support financial sector development across the continent. The joint EIB-IMF online course on financial inclusion and financial development.
By offering specialised technical assistance and fostering closer cooperation with its partners, across the continent the European Investment Bank is contributing to a lasting legacy of building local capacity and even developing stronger technical skills to ensure that increased access to finance overcomes daily challenges faced by small African businesses.
The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank, owned directly by the 27 European Union member states.
The EIB has operated across Africa since 1965 and last year provided EUR 5bn for private and public investment across Africa.