The African Union, through its development agency, is collaborating with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Ecobank Group to support Micro and Small-Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in building capacity to face the economic and social challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The AU, on Wednesday in Lome, said a continental framework has already been established for the support of the African MSMEs which form a significant part of individual economies in the continent, accounting for about 90 per cent of businesses in most African countries and have little or no absorption capacity to the effect of the pandemic.
The Chief Executive Officer of AUDA-NEPAD, Ibrahim Mayaki, said the collaboration also involves the contribution of the Ecobank Group.
The continental initiative, Mr Mayaki said, would involve the creation of a one-stop platform to address the issues, challenges and needs of MSMEs during and post COVID-19 pandemic period.
According to him, the platform is “an all-encompassing, flexible and comprehensive one-size-fits-all tool for MSMEs in the formal and informal sectors across the continent.”
He said opportunities and innovative ways to support and protect MSMEs and job opportunities have been identified under the initiative.
These, he said, cover opportunities in food and agribusinesses, technology startups, health specialised entities and those operating along with supply chain operations.
Under the arrangement, Mr Mayaki said the initiatives would also support MSMEs to gain access to information, finance, and fiscal stimulus during the period of the pandemic. Besides, he said the platform would also ensure continuous access to national, regional and continental markets.