Ecobank joins Western Union on African Diaspora Marketplace

The Western Union Company, a leader in global payment services, its Foundation, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that Western Union Agent and pan-African banking group Ecobank Group is supporting the second African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM).

The application deadline has also been extended to February 15, 2012. The ADM is an initiative that encourages sustainable economic growth and employment by supporting U.S.-based diaspora entrepreneurs with ideas for start-up and established businesses in Africa.

 The initiative will build on successes from the first African Diaspora Marketplace held in 2010: focusing grants toward high priority, high-impact sectors in Africa, including agribusiness, renewable energy, and information and communication technology (ICT). Ecobank Group also supported the first African Diaspora Marketplace.

“We are delighted to bring Ecobank on board again for the second ADM,” said Aida Diarra, Western Union regional vice president for North, Central and West Africa. “Western Union and Ecobank have a long-standing relationship in Africa and through this collaboration we are helping to tap the economic potential of the 1.4 million Africans living in the U.S. The ADM will strengthen and help satisfy demand for locally-produced products and services by leveraging diaspora capital and resources.”

“Ecobank is pleased to support this initiative as it offers an opportunity for us to partner with others who are committed to the economic development of Africa,” said Arnold Ekpe, Group CEO of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), parent company of the Ecobank Group. “For us, the ADM complements Ecobank’s mission of reaching out to the millions of Africans residing abroad and encouraging them to invest in Africa’s future,” Ekpe added.

Twenty-one countries qualify for consideration – proposals need to be submitted by February 15, 2012. The deadline was extended from February 3, 2012. Participating countries include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cote D’Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. The number of grants awarded will be determined based on grant pool and program need, and is likely to be in the range of 15-30 businesses. The anticipated matched grant size is expected to be approximately US $50,000.00, with an additional supplement of US $25-50,000.00 in technical assistance.

Source: CSR AFrica.Net – 6 Feb 2012