U.S. Trade and Development Agency

1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1600 * Arlington, Virginia 22209

Telephone (703) 875-4357 * Fax (703) 875-4009



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                           MEDIA INQUIRIES:

  Donna Thiessen 

                                                                                                                                                                        (703) 875-4357



KAMPALA, UGANDA (December 21, 2006) The creation of a venture capital fund in East Africa to enable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to serve as a catalyst for growth is the objective of a USTDA grant awarded today to the East African Development Bank (EADB). The grant will be used to define the requirements necessary to establish such a fund in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.


The $473,050 grant was conferred during a signing ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala. U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Steven Browning and EADB Executive Director Godfrey Tumusiime signed the grant agreement on behalf of the U.S. government and EADB, respectively.


The availability of long-term financing remains a critical challenge to the acceleration of economic growth and development in East Africa. While there is equity financing available for East Africa, it is not specifically designated to SMEs (10 to 100 employees and a minimum of $100,000 in sales). Current equity financing often seeks investments greater than $2 million and is usually only available from banks that do not provide permanent equity financing.


SMEs play a pivotal role in Africa's development, fostering economic growth, spurring innovation, creating employment, and providing inputs for larger enterprises and large public-private partnership infrastructure projects. Bringing SMEs into the formal financial sector in East Africa through a venture capital fund would help SMEs implement their long-term strategies and compete on a global basis.


The EADB has selected Structured Credit International Corporation, a New York-based financial advisory firm, to provide the technical assistance. In addition to the USTDA grant, the EADB will contribute additional resources toward the completion of the technical assistance program.


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment. USTDA's strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.