The SME Programme of AfDB aims at developing the SME sector in Africa by providing long-term finance (credit lines) to medium-sized Partner Financial Institutions (PFIs) in Africa. Frankfurt School implemented the Technical Assistance (TA) piece of the Programme to strengthen the SME Finance units within the PFIs. As a regional framework project, Frankfurt School helped PFIs to develop the capacity to successfully provide relevant financing to local SMEs and to build larger, high quality SME loan portfolios, which included support to the PFIs’ SME clients to help them prepare better loan applications.
From 2014-2019, Frankfurt School experts provided TA services to 16 PFIs such as commercial banks, finance companies, leasing companies and microfinance institutions from 14 African countries. This was done through a two-step approach consisting of (1) TA and Training Needs Assessment to determine the PFI’s status quo regarding SME Finance and define the focus areas of the TA, followed by (2) the implementation of TA in core areas.
All PFIs needed TA for SME Finance, Risk Management, IT/MIS and business development services. The second most pertinent topics covered the overall improvement of SME operations and help to reduce the number of non-performing loans. Frankfurt School experts also provided more targeted TA to enhance SME lending operations and strategies, as well as to improve the Risk Management framework of PFIs and introduce an Environmental and Social Management System framework
Institutional support was rounded out by enhancing the PFI’s BDS services to SME clients, which led to an employment increase for more than 127 SMEs. Frankfurt School experts also designed and developed case studies focusing on some of the SME clients who were able to access finance from their respective financial institutions.