Adebayo Obajemu

The continental body, the African Union, using its development agency, is collaborating with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Ecobank Group to assist Micro and Small-Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) build capacity to square off with the economic and social challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AU, Wednesday in Lome, disclosed that a continental platform has already been established for extending help to African MSMEs which are a core of individual economies in the continent and have little or no absorption capacity to the effect of the pandemic.

Recall that MSMEs account for about 90 per cent of businesses in most African economies.

Ibrahim Mayaki, the AUDA-NEPAD Chief Executive Officer, said the partnership 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.

The platform, he said, is “an all-encompassing, flexible and comprehensive one-size-fits-all tool for MSMEs in the formal and informal sectors across the continent.”

Under the initiative, he said, opportunities and innovative ways to support and protect MSMEs and job opportunities have been identified.

These, he said, cover opportunities in food and agribusinesses, technology startups, health specialised entities and those operating along with supply chain operations.

Under the platform, Mayaki said the initiatives would also support MSMEs to gain access to information, finance, and fiscal stimulus during the period of the pandemic.