SMEs, Women and Youth to Benefit from AfDB’s $100m Loan

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Thousands of small and medium enterprises in Mauritius will benefit from a US $100-million loan to the country from the African Development Bank.

The Bank approved the loan through its public sector window to MauBank Holdings Ltd. in Mauritius to expand its SME business across sectors and foster private sector investments in a wide range of sectors, such as manufacturing, trade, agriculture, aquaculture, ICT and transport. The facility will promote inclusive growth in the country.

Through the support, MauBank projects an increase in its SME clients from 4,400 to 6,000, including 1,500 women and 300 youth enterprises by 2027. This will in turn allow these enterprises to expand their productive capacity, generate additional sales and ultimately grow their business operations as well as employment, including for women and youth.

MauBank Holdings Ltd. is wholly owned by the Government of Mauritius, which clearly commits to support MauBank to deliver its 10-Year SME Master Plan launched in 2017. The Master Plan is aligned with the African Development Bank’s High 5s agenda, particularly “Industrialize Africa”.

The Master Plan of the Government of Mauritius aims to raise SMEs’ contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 40 to 52% by 2026, while increasing SMEs’ share of national employment from 55 to 64%.

There are over 100,000 registered SMEs in Mauritius, contributing approximately 40% of GDP and employing over 280,000 people. These firms operate across a wide range of sectors, including food and beverages, textiles, furniture, paper products, chemicals, rubber and plastic, handicrafts, pottery, jewelry, trade and commerce.

The African Development Bank loan will contribute to gender equity and social inclusion. Female workers (30% of Mauritius’ workforce) and entrepreneurs (16% of firms with female shareholders) will benefit from the Bank’s loan. Some priority sectors of MauBank, such as agriculture, food processing, textile, handcraft and service sectors, have high potential for female employment.