Proparco, a subsidiary of the French Development Agency, has dedicated $1 billion to empower micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in vital development sectors. This investment includes loans, equity, guarantees, and technical assistance delivered through financial institutions, investment funds, and a venture capital firm, benefiting 39 projects over 15 years.
Françoise Lombard, CEO of Proparco, emphasized the agency’s collaboration with intermediaries, enabling them to support MSMEs that may not be accessible directly. Lombard expressed confidence in Africa’s potential to address 21st-century challenges, asserting that nurturing entrepreneurial vigor lies at the heart of the French Development Agency’s mission.
The focus of Proparco is to foster a sustainable and resilient economy, protect the environment, and reduce inequalities across the regions it serves. In Nigeria, Proparco, alongside Agence Française de Développement (AFD), has played a pivotal role in catalyzing growth in finance, technology, energy, and climate sectors over the past 15 years.
Jean Guyonnet-Dupérat, regional director of Proparco in Nigeria, commended the bold and dynamic spirit of Nigerian entrepreneurs. He affirmed their commitment as financial partners to provide expertise and financial tools, aiding entrepreneurs in surpassing their goals.
George Ogbonnaya, VP and group head of business banking at FCMB, praised the support received from Proparco, which has enabled the bank to extend credit to MSMEs and women-led businesses. Through Proparco’s backing, FCMB empowers agribusinesses with long-term capital and provides financial support to women-led enterprises while offering them essential training.
In 2021, Proparco collaborated with FCMB to fortify its dedication to high-impact SMEs and climate projects, providing a $35 million loan and an EURIZ portfolio guarantee of N5 billion. This facilitated FCMB’s support to A4&T Power in the installation of 1.5MWp renewable capacity, benefiting various essential facilities and communities.
Damilola Teidi-Ayoola, head of platform and networks at Ventures Platform, lauded the profound impact of Proparco on their organization. She emphasized the added value and access to resources that Proparco brings, ultimately enabling them and their partners to create more significant value.
In 2022, Proparco invested $5 million in equity into Ventures Platform, aimed at bridging structural gaps and improving livelihoods in Africa. Ventures Platform has already supported innovative startups, including Nigeria’s Traction Apps, a tech firm providing essential IT tools for SMEs to manage payments, sales, invoicing, and inventories, among other functions.