United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc says it wants to create Africa’s version of Alibaba and ebay by supporting the entrepreneurial potential of African youths.
The Group Managing Director, UBA, Mr Kennedy Uzoka, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at the opening of the UBA Market Place. He said Africa’s youths were full of ideas that could change the standard of living and reduce poverty on the continent and that was why the bank was passionate about supporting Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
According to him, “UBA Market Place has brought together under one roof more than 5,000 SMEs from across Africa. We want to create a platform in Africa similar to Alibaba and ebay.”
To do this, the UBA Group boss disclosed that the bank had offered to free up more funds to support the growth and development of SMEs in Africa.
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He said that the desire to make more money available to SMEs by the bank was taken with a view to stimulating and deepening the African economy. In Nigeria alone, it was revealed that about N50 billion had been set aside from the bank’s portfolio for SMEs financing.
The UBA Market Place which debuted for the first time in the country in Abuja is an entrepreneurial fair, with exhibitors from 20 African countries, taking place on the sidelines of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum.
Uzoka added that UBA had taken steps to make SMEs more viable and better established across Africa. According to him, UBA banks “a lot of customers across the continent and in doing that, we have discovered that there is a gap in the business value chain. That void we discovered is how to bring more buyers and sellers together and that is what we have done today.”
Also at the event, the UBA Group Head Retail Banking, Mr Jude Anele, stated that 10 per cent of the bank’s total balance sheet had been earmarked to support SMEs in countries where the bank operates in Africa. The countries are Nigeria, Chad, Cote D’ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Congo Brazzaville, France, Guinea Conakry, Kenya and Mali.