AGF and Vista Group Holding Partnership Empowering Economic Growth in Sierra Leone

AGF and Vista Group Holding

The African Guarantee Fund (AGF) and Vista Group Holding have initiated a groundbreaking partnership aimed at revolutionizing access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Sierra Leone.

Unveiled on January 16, 2024, this landmark collaboration promises to address the persistent financing challenges hindering SME growth and development in the West African nation.

By merging AGF’s financial guarantee expertise with Vista Group Holding’s expansive network and lending activities, the partnership aspires to catalyze economic growth, empower women-led businesses, and foster inclusive development.

At the core of this alliance lies a dedication to unlocking growth opportunities for SMEs in Sierra Leone and beyond. AGF’s commitment to a substantial loan portfolio guarantee of USD 50 million offers a lifeline for Vista Group Holding’s lending efforts to SMEs across the nation.

This injection of funds targets bridging the financing gap that has long stifled SME expansion, particularly in underprivileged markets such as women-owned enterprises, green ventures, and youth-led initiatives.

The strategic collaboration between AGF and Vista Group Holding is meticulously crafted to promote financial inclusion and enhance access to finance for entrepreneurs, thus fostering inclusive economic growth in the region.

By concentrating on underserved markets, the partnership aims to dismantle the systemic barriers that have historically marginalized SMEs, particularly those led by women and young entrepreneurs.

Through tailor-made financial support and resources, AGF and Vista Group Holding envision creating a nurturing ecosystem conducive to SME prosperity and seizing growth opportunities.

Jules Ngankam, Group Chief Executive Officer of AGF, expressed his optimism regarding the partnership’s potential to unlock the immense capacity of SMEs in the region and drive inclusive economic growth through enhanced access to financing.

He highlighted the importance of synergizing expertise and resources to empower SMEs and shape a more prosperous future for West Africa.

“We are excited to partner with Vista Group, one of the largest leading players in the West African banking landscape. This collaboration will leverage our combined expertise and resources to unlock the immense potential of SMEs in the region, drive inclusive economic growth through increased access to financing,” stated Jules Ngankam.

Yao Kouassi, Managing Director of Vista Group Holding, echoed these sentiments, highlighting the partnership’s significance in empowering SMEs and promoting financial inclusion across the region.

He emphasized the partnership’s alignment with Vista Group Holding’s expansion objectives, emphasizing its broader regional impact beyond Sierra Leone.

“Partnering with AGF is a significant stride in our mission to empower SMEs and enhance financial inclusion across West Africa. This collaboration will enable us to extend our reach and provide vital financial support to enterprises driving economic development in these countries. It resonates with our ambition to expand our presence beyond the Guinean Market to ECOWAS and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMAC).”

Moreover, the partnership leverages the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) Guarantee for Growth program, supported by the African Development Bank, to unlock up to USD 3 billion in financing for Women SMEs in Africa through financial institutions.

Women entrepreneurs play a significant role in Sierra Leone’s economy, contributing to increased revenues, job creation, and social development.

Despite their substantial contributions, women-led businesses often encounter unique challenges, including limited access to finance and gender-related barriers.

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This partnership not only empowers women entrepreneurs but also champions gender equality and fosters inclusive economic growth in Sierra Leone.

In addition to financial support, AGF will provide a capacity development program tailored to each subsidiary based on their needs to further amplify the impact of the guarantee.

This holistic approach signifies the commitment of both AGF and Vista Group Holding to supporting SMEs and driving inclusive economic growth in West Africa.

With Sierra Leone boasting a GDP of USD 4.09 billion and a population of 8.6 million, SMEs contribute a substantial 40% to the nation’s economic output, highlighting their critical role in driving prosperity and development.

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