Venture into climate resilient projects, SMEs urged

THE African Guarantee Fund for small and medium enterprises has encouraged Zambian SMEs to venture into green, low carbon, and climate resilient projects. AGF chief executive officer Felix Bikpo said the AGF would enable financial institutions to finance African SMEs whose investments ensure a sustainable growth and climate resilient development in African economies. “Zambia has demonstrated its commitment to creating an enabling environment for enterprise development. Today, Zambia represents 10 percent of our guarantee portfolio. We also look to work closely with the Zambian Government to encourage the entrepreneurship culture amongst the Zambian youths,” Mr. Bikpo said. Energy Minister David Mabumba further confirmed that sustainable development is endorsed in Zambia’s business environment. “We have a significant number of SMEs in green finance and we look forward to working with the African Guarantee Fund in creating opportunities and access to funds for these young entrepreneurs,” Mr Mabumba told the 16th board meeting of the AGF in Lusaka this week. AGF has reached 2,000 SMEs in 35 African countries, creating 24,000 jobs in the last five years of its existence. The fund plans to cover all 54 African countries by 2021, providing African SMEs with about US$500,000 through 47 partner financial institutions. Earlier this year, AGF launched a green guarantee facility in Lusaka following the momentum from the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. The primary mandate of the fund is to help finance SMEs by sharing potential risk with financial institutions as well as providing capacity development to financial institutions.