UK aid to boost access to finance for sub-Saharan Africa


A new UK aid package will help mobilise £500 million in private sector investment and create 50,000 jobs across sub-Saharan Africa, International Development Secretary Alok Sharma announced today [Friday 27 September 2019].

The support will help small financial services businesses and entrepreneurs to grow – creating jobs and boosting economic growth.

It will also give 12.5 million people across Africa better access to financial services including bank accounts and loans.

The UK has committed £90 million to Financial Sector Deepening Africa which will help the poorest Africans manage their money better.

Millions of African adults, many of them women, do not have access to the modern financial services they need to help buy food, pay bills, and send money to family members. Women will especially benefit, given they are likely to earn less and are 20 per cent less likely than men to have a bank account.

It will also drive a further £244 million of private sector and public sector investment into projects, such as housing, health and education.

After supporting the development of Africa’s first corporate green bond in Nigeria, Financial Sector Deepening Africa is working towards the close of the first green bond in Kenya – which will raise funds to build environmentally-friendly housing. The bond will be a first for East Africa and a second across the continent.

This comes after the International Development Secretary announced a new Infrastructure Commission in August, bringing together leading experts to boost quality infrastructure projects in developing countries.

International Development Secretary Alok Sharma said:

“I am committed to mobilising the private sector to help African nations make the most of their enormous potential. The growth of the green bond market in Africa will help to realise this potential, as well as supporting climate resilient infrastructure.

“This new UK aid package will reduce poverty by mobilising private sector investment in infrastructure, creating jobs and boosting access to finance.

“I have recently announced an Infrastructure Commission whose aim will be to boost investment in green, sustainable infrastructure.”

Acorn, a Kenya-based real estate development company, is set to close the country’s first certified green bond, raising finance for the construction of environmentally-friendly student accommodation in Nairobi. This is a landmark moment for the “Green Bonds Programme Kenya”, a partner initiative between Financial Sector Deepening Africa which is backed by UK aid, Kenya Bankers Association, Nairobi Securities Exchange, Climate Bonds Initiative and the Dutch Development Bank.