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Factoring services can bridge SME financing gap – Kanayo Awani

Factoring services can bridge the gap in the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa by addressing the challenges the SMEs face in accessing funding for business activities, Kanayo Awani, Managing Director of the Intra-African Trade Initiative of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), has said in Douala, Cameroon.

Ms. Awani, who was speaking on 30 March during the opening of a two-day factoring promotion seminar organised by the Bank, said that the effectiveness and potential of factoring services to support SMEs became even higher during periods of financial distress and that, because of its unique features, factoring was well-suited for facilitating financial inclusion of SMEs.

To support its strategy to grow intra-African trade and facilitate greater SME contribution to regional and global supply chains, Afreximbank had been championing the development of factoring in Africa, continued Ms. Awani. The Bank’s support had been through provision of credit lines to factors, capacity-building workshops, policy and regulatory inputs, advisory services and technical assistance to promote best practices.

“We are proud to note the increased awareness about factoring in Africa and, more tangibly, the growing number of factoring companies on account of our efforts,” she said. Increasing factoring transaction volumes and ensuring stronger legal frameworks were also part of the Bank’s targets.

Also speaking, Aboubakar Njikam, representative of the Governor of the Littoral Region of Cameroon, said that the country had enacted legislation to regulate factoring in recognition of its importance as in unlocking economic development. Cameroon was sparring no effort in promoting the development and use of the product and the new law provided the enabling environment for its growth in the coming years.

Cameroon is among African countries where new factors are emerging and its factoring volumes reached about €40 million in 2016.

In addition to providing networking opportunities for international and sub-regional factoring practitioners, the seminar introduced participants to the principles, mechanics, risks and benefits of factoring using case studies and success stories. The Afreximbank Model Law on Factoring was also explained to participants, highlighting the ways in which it could be adapted to suit different local regulatory environments.

The seminar was organized in collaboration with FCI, the global representative body for the factoring and receivables finance industry; Afriland First Bank Group; and CamLease, the Cameroonian leasing association. More than 150 finance professionals, legal practitioners, corporates and SMEs from Cameroon, the Central Africa region and beyond attended the event.

The seminar follows similar factoring promotion and capacity-building events organised by Afreximbank in Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and Mauritius.

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