In October 2008, in collaboration with USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA), Deutsche Bank and Microsoft, FSVC held a conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, to help improve access to finance for small businesses.
· In advance of the conference, FSVC prepared a report that offered a broad overview of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) lending in Sub-Saharan Africa.
· The conference entitled, “Banking on the Future: Lending to African Small and Medium Enterprises,” brought together senior-level international and African banking experts, African entrepreneurs and financial innovators to discuss the current state of SME lending in Africa, and explore practical ways to increase the ability of banks to extend lending to this important sector.
· Topics covered included strategies to build SME lending divisions, credit risk management, credit scoring and new technologies.
· A total of 28 speakers assembled, including the CEO of Wizzit Bank, a Managing Director of Ecobank Ghana, an Executive Officer of the South African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, an Executive Vice President of Commerce Bank, and Senior Vice President-Business Banking at Bank of America, among others.
· 91 participants attended the conference, including representatives from 37 banks, SME owners, private equity investors/fund managers, from countries across Africa (e.g., Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa), India and the U.S.
· As a result of the conference, bankers in Africa were better equipped to define, manage and mitigate the risks in lending to SMEs, and build a framework within their institutions for prudent and profitable SME lending.