Looking for African solutions to the SME financing gap

Unrealised growth potential and positive demographics continue to make Africa an attractive long-term investment destination, despite the SME funding gap. Africa has 400 companies with more than $1bn in revenue and 700 companies with more than $500m in revenue.

Over the past five years, debt transactions totalling $110.2bn have been placed in African debt markets or by African companies on international markets, the majority of which were US dollar-denominated. Taking all of this into account, the size of the corporate loan market across sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa), is estimated to be greater than $150bn.

While at face value these nominal sums may seem impressive, they mask a massive shortage of finance.