The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) is partnering with Access Bank Botswana to extend financial support to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Botswana through a US$20 million loan. The financing is the first private sector loan from the OPEC Fund in Botswana.
A significant portion of the funding, at least 30 percent, will be directed towards women-owned businesses and 70 percent will be provided for on-lending to local companies. The funds will help address the financing access gap experienced by many MSMEs.
Signing the agreement during the OPEC Fund Development Forum in Vienna, Austria, today OPEC Fund Director-General Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “This loan demonstrates our commitment to promoting economic growth, gender equality and financial inclusion. By empowering small businesses and women entrepreneurs, who play a significant role in Botswana’s economy, we are contributing to the resilience, inclusiveness and overall economic sustainability of the country.”
Access Bank Botswana Acting Managing Director Musonda Chishimba added: “This partnership will enable Access Bank Botswana to deliver much-needed access to finance for small businesses, provide these businesses with trade finance solutions through tailored financial products and promote the use of digital banking channels to help accelerate the growth of SMEs across the country. Investing in SMEs the bank can drive sustainable economic growth, reduce unemployment and build a resilient economy for the future.”
The financing by the OPEC Fund aligns with multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 8 (Economic Growth) and SDG 9 (Resilience, Inclusiveness, and Sustainability). Access Bank Botswana aims to grow the percentage of women-owned businesses within its portfolio from 20 percent to 25 percent of the total MSME portfolio.
Access Bank, the parent company of Access Bank Botswana, is a Nigerian entity. Dr. Alkhalifa said: “South-South Cooperation is one of the OPEC Fund’s founding principles and core values. We are proud to further create value for one of member countries by supporting a Nigerian company to contribute to the sustainable development in a partner country of the OPEC Fund.”