African Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (AGF WEST AFRICA S.A.) has granted a portfolio guarantee line amounting to 7.6 million Euros to Société Générale Benin to support SMEs, women entrepreneurship and green economy in Benin. The signing ceremony took place at the Société Générale Benin headquarters in Cotonou.
This agreement, signed by Yery SECK, CEO of Société Générale Benin and Sibi LAWSON, Deputy Managing Director of AGF WEST AFRICA, will enable Société Générale Benin, on the one hand, to further increase its commitment to the SME/SMI bracket, in line with the activities of the Maison de la PME (House of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) created by the bank; and, on the other hand, to promote the development of green entrepreneurship and women’s leadership in the business world.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mrs. Sibi LAWSON, Deputy MD of AGF WEST AFRICA, said:
“Governments in our countries have put in place development plans, one of the priorities of which is to support SMEs and reduce the unemployment rate. The new banking regulations being implemented in our sub-region impose additional requirements on banks in their financing activities, to make them more efficient and robust. In order to meet these requirements, banks need reliable and solid partners to support them, especially in the SME/SMI segment which represents the largest part of the economic fabric, but at the same time is more vulnerable and has a lot of difficulty in obtaining financing.
To this end, AGF is one of the reference partners on the continent especially with the advantages of its AA- Fitch Rating and its renowned shareholders. It is in this perspective that this partnership between Société Générale Benin and AGF West Africa was created, providing support to banks to finance SMEs in Benin, with a focus on SMEs led by women (through the AFAWA program) and those whose activities contribute to the protection of the environment.”
On the other hand, Mr. Yery SECK, CEO of Société Générale Benin, stated that:
“The Société Générale Group, which has been in operation in Africa for 100 years, reaffirms its commitment to the continent and its firm determination to support the development of local economies. Thus, through the ‘Grow with Africa’ initiative launched in 2018, Société Générale intends to actively contribute to Africa’s sustainable development around 4 priorities which are: supporting the development of African SMEs, participating in the financing of infrastructure, financing the agricultural and renewable energy sectors; and finally, promoting financial inclusion by supporting women’s entrepreneurship in particular.
Société Générale Benin is totally committed to this strategic objective of the Group, with the creation of the Maison de la PME in 2020 and the strengthening of its collaboration with various international actors involved in the development of SMEs.
Among these players is the African Guarantee Fund (AGF West Africa SA), with whom Société Générale Benin is proud to sign this partnership agreement today in order to guarantee a portfolio of new loans to Beninese SMEs.”