Liberia: AFB commits to improve farmers' access to finance
It has signed a Partnership Agreement with the US Agency for International Development (USAID).Afriland First Bank (AFB) has signed a Partnership Agreement with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to support the financial base of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Liberia, particularly in the agricultural sector.
AFB's managing director Hamadou Bayo said the bank has established branches in Monrovia, River Gee, Grand Kru, Barpolu, River Cess Counties, along with two banks in Lofa and Nimba Counties in a bid to facilitate farmers' access to finance, The Inquirer reports.
He added that despite the Ebola crisis affecting the Liberian economy, the government has been able to get the economy running again and that the bank will support the growth and development of the national economy.
A similar agreement was signed this year between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and AccessBank Liberia Ltd (ABL) to enhance the bank's capacity to reach MSMEs.
AfDB Resident Representative to Liberia, Margaret Kilo, said while there are around 10,000 formally registered SMEs operating in Liberia, many continue to operate informally.
She noted that Liberia's MSMEs face a number of constraints to profitability and growth -
including a lack of access to finance - adding that the Ebola crisis exacerbated those challenges.
The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has recently announced a relief package for commercial lenders hit by the ongoing Ebola crisis.
It waived default charges and extend repayment periods on loans, and paid off outstanding loans taken by schools that were forced to close.