May 8, 2018 / 6:58 PM / in 8 months

African Guarantee Fund targeting capital of $500 mln by 2021

ABIDJAN, May 8 (Reuters) - The African Guarantee Fund, which supports small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) on the continent, will aim to boost its capital five-fold to half a billion dollars by 2021, one of its senior officials said on Tuesday.

Despite being among the fastest-growing regions in the world economically, the difficulties faced by small businesses seeking to raise financing from risk-averse lenders represent a major obstacle to private sector economic development in Africa.

The African Guarantee Fund provides local currency guarantees on bank loans to businesses to ease their access to credit.

“We are in the middle of a fundraising campaign,” Adidja Zanouvi, the company’s managing director for West Africa, told reporters in Ivory Coast’s economic capital Abidjan.

“We need a lively SME sector to play the role of the economic growth engine.”

The company, which is incorporated in Mauritius, currently possesses capital of around $100 million.

To boost that, she said it planned to tap shareholders including the African Development Bank, the Agence Francaise de Developpement, Denmark’s DANIDA, Spain’s AECID and the Nordic Development Fund. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly Editing by Joe Bavier)

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