Press releases

African Guarantee Fund and ITC aim to expand access to green finance in Africa

2 February 2017
ITC News

(Geneva-Nairobi) – The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) have announced a partnership to expand access to climate-focused finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa. The new collaboration builds on the momentum from the 2016 Sustainable Innovation Forum held in in Marrakech, Morocco, and introduces a specialized green-guarantee instrument designed to unlock finance for SMEs to invest in low carbon, green growth and climate resilient development.

The agreement is part of the technical assistance facility provided alongside the EUR 6 million equity investment to AGF by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF). The overall investment of the NDF aims to unlock up to EUR 36 million in private commercial capital for green growth. As part of its Access to Finance for SMEs Programme, ITC will organize conferences and training on green finance for top management and relevant staff of commercial banks in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia.

Dorothy Tembo, ITC’s Deputy Executive Director, said: ‘This new partnership will be a stepping stone to achieve the greenhouse-gas emissions targets of the four and enable a shift towards a green economy. In partnership with AGF, we will equip participants with knowledge about funding for climate-change mitigation and adaptation, as well as climate conscious investments and how climate-change regulations can help spur the development of new products and services.’

The collaboration will target SME investments in sustainable energy, cleaner production, climate-smart agriculture, natural resource management, and green services leading to improvements in overall sustainability of African economies and growth in green jobs, income and quality of life for low income communities across the continent.

‘The end objective of the training sessions is to make financial institutions go green and ready to support clients seeking dedicated products for green investments,’ said Felix A. Bikpo, Chief Executive Officer of AGF. ‘Training will bring participants up to speed on the environment and social risks related to lending and investment projects. It will also guide participants use strategies and tools to detect, mitigate and evaluate these environmental and social risks’, he said.

The partnership is a response to the Zambia Green Jobs Programme, a joint United Nations programme aimed at creating green jobs in the building and construction sector. The first conference and set of training courses will be held in Lusaka, Zambia on 2-7 March 2017.

About the African Guarantee Fund

Officially launched on 1 June 2012, the African Guarantee Fund is a pan-African non-bank financial institution owned by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). AGF’s primary mandate is to assist financial institutions in Africa to scale up their SME financing through the provision of partial loan guarantees and capacity development assistance.

About the Nordic Development Fund

The Nordic Development Fund is a multilateral development finance institution established by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in 1989. Since 2009, its mandate has been to focus on climate and development. It has since proven effectiveness and efficiency and a value-adding niche as a fully operational and functioning piece in the global climate financing architecture.

Notes for the Editor

About the International Trade Centre: ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. 


For more information, please contact:

International Trade Centre

Mr. Jarle Hetland
Media Officer

Office of the Executive Director
P: +41 22 730 0651

M:+ 41 79 582 9180
E: hetland [at] (hetland[at]intracen[dot]org)


International Trade Centre

Access to Finance Programme for SMEs

Sector and Enterprise Competiveness

P: +41 22 730 0380

E: aletti [at] (greenfinance[at]intracen[dot]org)