The African Banker Awards, which will be held in Busan, South Korea in May, have announced that the African Guarantee Fund is the 2018 event’s platinum sponsor.
The Awards – in their 12th year – recognise and reward excellence in the African banking and financial sectors. This year they are being held in Busan during the African Development Bank Annual (AfDB) Annual Meetings – one of the most important global gathering of African leaders in the development world – which will be taking place in the Korean port city.
The African Guarantee Fund (AGF) was officially launched in 2012, as an initiative of the African Development Bank alongside the governments of Spain and Denmark to help financial institutions lend more to SMEs by providing guarantees against risk of defaults. In the last two years the AGF has added the Nordic Development Fund and France’s AFD as shareholders.
It has been a remarkable year for the Fund. Late last year it received an AA- rating from Fitch, something Felix Bikpo, the Fund’s CEO said would help attract new partners and help it better leverage its balance sheet as well as reduce the cost of capital for SMEs as it would be able to provide its services at a lower cost.
Earlier this month in London, the AGF signed a $74m re-guarantee agreement with GuarantCo that will enable it to further leverage its balance sheet to lend to SMEs servicing the infrastructure sector. Too often the constraints for SMEs is the lack of infrastructure such as power, connectivity or strong logistical nodes, and financing SMEs that are contributing to bridging this gap will have a twin effect of both supporting SMEs in the sector and other SMEs that will benefit from improved infrastructure.
Over the past 6 years, AGF has led the guarantee market in Africa by issuing financial guarantees enabling lending to the tune of USD $700 million to approximately 8,000 SMEs. As it continues to strengthen its capital base it intends to continue using its balance sheet to enable another $1bn of loans to this asset class, which Bikpo feels is the only one that can truly enable a truly diversified economy.
The African Banker Awards are organised by our sister publication African Banker magazine one of IC Publications’ 8 titles and IC Events – Africa’s leading media and communications group. More information on the awards can be found here
The entry deadline for awards in all the categories has been extended to 31st March.