U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has signed a commitment for $280 million in financing for Access Bank Nigeria to address the financing gap for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and advance financial inclusion in Nigeria
Mr Scott Nathan Chief Executive Officer, U.S DFC signed the letter of commitment alongside Ms Roosevelt Ogbonna, Managing Director, Access Bank plc Nigeria on Monday in Lagos.
The U.S Mission in Lagos disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists on Monday.
According to Nathan, the loan will help address the financing gap for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and advance financial inclusion in Nigeria, including through the bank’s commitment to supporting women-owned and -led businesses.
“DFC’s investment in Access Bank demonstrates U.S. support for private sector-led development in Nigeria and throughout West Africa.
“The $280 million loan from DFC will boost financial inclusion in Nigeria and empower women, bolstering the country’s economic growth,” Nathan said.
U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard said lauded the initiative stating that funds would be leveraged upon to unleash the full economic potential of Nigeria.
“We look forward to discussing with the public and private sectors how DFC funding can be leveraged to unleash the full economic potential of Nigeria.
“Through support to the country’s small and medium-sized businesses, financial sector, and climate change-focused enterprises,” Leonard said.
Ogbonna said that Access bank looks forward to utilizing the strategic partnership with DFC which seeks to strengthen the county’s economy.
“Access Bank is extremely pleased to announce this strategic partnership with DFC to support the multitude of businesses across Nigeria who stand to benefit from greater access to finance.
“Especially in an environment that is in need of stronger economic diversification,
“We look forward to utilizing the partnership with DFC in driving further economic expansion and inclusion in Nigeria, with a strong focus on non-oil sectors and women businesses,” Ogbonna said.
In a similar note, Mr Rizwan Shaikh Citi EMEA Head of Emerging Markets Corporate Bank, Citi Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) described the initiative as another milestone achievements for Citi.
“We are delighted to have collaborated with Access Bank and DFC on this significant transaction, which will significantly boost SME corporate activity in Nigeria.
“This is yet another milestone stride for Citi as it executes a focused local-economy development strategy based on solid partnerships with key clients and development agencies,” Shikh said.
DFC financing for Access Bank will provide needed liquidity given the global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The loan is expected to support at least 4,000 new SME loans in Nigeria. In addition, the loan proceeds will be on-lent across more than a dozen sectors in the Nigerian economy.
It will have specific focus on women-owned SMEs, and on loans with longer tenors, which will provide more flexibility to borrowers.
Access Bank is one of the largest banks in Nigeria and has banking subsidiaries throughout Africa. Citibank acted as the coordinator and arranger/co-lender to help facilitate the loan.
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