British International Investment and INOKS Capital announce first-of-its-kind Africa-focused trade access programme

  • Trade Access Program (TAP) is launched with US$ 25 million capital from British International Investment (BII)
  • The program aims to strengthen trade across Africa by backing the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), AgriTech, FinTechs and Alternative Trade Financiers
  • The program qualifies under the 2X Challenge, with 10 per cent of the capital targeting gender and 10 per cent climate transactions

The Africa-focused Trade Access Program (“TAP”) managed by INOKS Capital was launched in April 2022 with an initial capital of US$ 25million from British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor.

The program is part of a larger trade access platform undertaken by BII to directly fund SMEs and trade intermediates, such as agritech, fintechs and alternative trade financiers whose technological and digital solutions will help BII reach much smaller borrowers who are active members of local supply chains. As such, this first-of-its-kind program will help to increase urgently needed liquidity to SMEs and target trade intermediaries in Africa.

In addition to fostering trade, job creation, local income, and positive impact generation on climate change, TAP will boost economic inclusion by specifically seeking to improve access to finance for women by targeting investments that qualify for the 2X Challenge. The 2X criteria will be used to determine whether an enterprise can be considered woman-owned, woman-led or woman-supporting.

Access to funding is limited for African SMEs, agritech and fintechs, particularly those in the agri and food sector. TAP funding will help extend credit to such businesses, including ATFs such as trade-based services and products providers, including aggregators, e-commerce platforms, SME-focused banks, and non-bank financial institutions. The capital will increase trade and food supply, help to develop local infrastructure, and rejuvenate market-enhancing corporates that meet consumer and business needs. This will in turn foster long-term economic growth and contribute to a productive, sustainable and inclusive future.

The partnership

In welcoming this milestone commitment, Nabil Marc Abdul-Massih, CEO of INOKS Capital, said: “securing this investment from BII entrusts all our Team to utilize its DNA, field tested know-how and capabilities to attain the investment purpose. Through TAP’s efficient and impactful trade enhancing investments in Africa, we endeavour to deliver on this partnership in synergy with BII’s broad network and resources much needed social uplifting and economic growth.”  Ivan Agabekov, CFO of INOKS Capital, emphasized: “Our Team is eager to proficiently deploy the innovative toolset that TAP provides in filling the gap of capital needed to enhance trade through private sector growth, and not least supporting gender equality and climate change mitigation. These are much pertinent powerful motivators given the current supply chains and food security outlooks”.

Admir Imami, Head of Trade & Supply Chain Finance, British International Investment, said: “Small traders are vital to any supply chain but are often excluded from accessing formal trade finance products such as Letter of Credit, Bank Guarantee, Receivables Finance or Structured Trade Finance. This new Trade Access platform, which BII is launching with INOKS Capital as its first partner, is an innovative financing program and solution that will enable SMEs and trade intermediaries in Africa to access much-needed working capital. The platform will also support women-owned and led SMEs while also backing climate positive trade, which will help boost productivity across local and vital value chains, increase food security and accelerate sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”

“This partnership illustrates BII’s commitment to deploying patient and flexible capital toward addressing market challenges, and I am proud of the dedicated effort by the BII team in structuring this innovative program that will help in meeting critical business and keep trade flowing across the continent.”

Boosting trade finance is critical to supporting small businesses which are the cornerstone for a thriving private sector and development in any economy. BII’s new Trade Access Program and the larger Trade Access platform will help contribute toward bridging Africa’s US $81 billion trade gap, helping drive long-term economic prosperity across the continent.

Source: British International Investment (Published July 6, 2022)

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