Conference proceedings

Conference proceedings

Special Remarks & Leader Dialogue: Views from Africa

Special Remarks 

Sérgio Pimenta, Regional Vice President, Africa, International Finance Corporation (IFC)

  • Great opportunity and great challenge to build SME Finance Forum 10 years ago

  • Empowering the world's small businesses is critical to achieving SDGs  

  • SME Finance Forum is a vital partner to help small businesses to grow and employ more people 

  • Supporting small businesses in Africa is central to IFCs work and is especially critical now to support SMEs to recover from Covid and respond to challenges from climate change 

  • Without incorporating small business into environmental social issues, we will not be able to solve climate change, the digital divide and social inequalities 

  • Now more than ever, we need to help small businesses adopt climate friendly business practices and to participate in business opportunities that greener development presents for the continent 


Benedict Okey Oramah, President and Chairman, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)

  • Afreximbank is the pan-African trade financial institution to support continent to access trade finance and promote inter regional trade 

  • Impact on climate change: Africa only contributes 1% of greenhouse gases and considering the contribution of SMEs to climate change it is even smaller  

  • SMEs in Africa are not part of the climate change problem, they are victims of climate change

  • Suffering from impact of climate change: droughts, flooding, increasing pandemics and endemics

  • Focused on Climate Mitigation: Need to focus on how to help SMEs to cope with climate change, uncertainties, risk and weather, and disruptions  

  • Launched a program with African Risk Capacity to provide weather risk mitigation instruments to help SMEs cope 

  • Also supporting govts to invest to reduce uncertainties that SMEs encounter today 

  • Market opportunities for SMEs:

  • Branding green goods and services, and market pays premium for these

  • Technical expertise about climate, that they produce in a way that leverages market opportunities 

  • Specific opportunities could include small scale solar, farming practices without polluting, producing green goods for export in a climate friendly way 

  • Will bring more wealth to African SMEs

  • Afrexim is helping SMEs to pivot to green: they have a program for SMEs including 

  • Disbursed 1.6 BN to 49,000 SMEs on the continent last year 

  • Advisory services, incubation services 

  • Weather insurance to support SMEs when weather causes losses for them

  • Massive healthcare program (both Covid and other), including vaccines 

  • Role of stakeholders in accelerating access to green finance

  • Collective responsibility: need to look at how we deal with climate change 

  • Benefits for all with investments, but this is a larger cost in Africa, who contributes little to climate change, but it is expected to invest in it 

  • Global Climate Fund needs to reduce funding costs to entice SMEs to produce in climate resilient manner 

  • Progress of Climate Finance in Africa

  • They have European partners, which act as a conduit for climate finance on the continent 

  • They have a project to help SMEs with climate/weather risk 

  • Climate Resilience Fund being set up in Africa, investments to improve infrastructure

  • Lots of programs across the continent focused on climate resilience