African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed a $50 million Line of Credit Agreement with First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to support access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as women-empowered businesses (WEBs).
FCMB is to use proceeds of the facility to finance SMEs and WEBs in Nigeria’s agribusiness, manufacturing, healthcare and renewable energy sectors. The funds are intended to mitigate the effects of the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic on the business environment in which the beneficiary enterprises operate.
Also, AfDB is partnering partner with FCMB through a technical assistance grant of $200,000 sourced from the Women Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative (WeFi) under its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative. The Nigerian financial institution would deploy the grant to provide non-financial services, including training and strengthening of its monitoring and reporting functions for WEBs.
Other outcomes expected from this operation are improved access to finance for at least 50 enterprises, out of which 29 are projected to be in agribusiness and manufacturing, nine in renewable energy and 13 in the healthcare industry. A minimum of 14 female entrepreneurs are to be supported to access long-term funding and at least 1,000 jobs created or sustained.
Small and medium-sized firms account for up to 80 per cent of employment in most African countries and women-empowered businesses typically face a considerable financing gap. The Nigerian economy has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and falling crude oil prices with a ripple effect on the broader economy.
“AfDB Bank is pleased to partner with FCMB, a financial institution that has continuously demonstrated commitment to supporting and financing small and medium-sized enterprises and women entrepreneurs. This collaboration will further expand FCMB’s financial support to this underserved group and contribute to the growth of the Nigerian economy,” AfDB’s Director General, Nigeria Country Department, Lamin Barrow, said.
He noted that the focus and objectives of the multilateral institution’s collaboration with FCMB were in line with AfDB’s strategic priorities of promoting gender inclusivity, private sector development, industrialisation, food security and job creation in the bank’s regional member countries as encapsulated in its High-5 strategic priorities to ‘Industrialise Africa’ and ‘Feed Africa’.
In her remarks, the Managing Director, FCMB Limited, Yemisi Edun, said: “We are happy to collaborate with AfDB to create expanded opportunities and accelerate post-COVID-19 pandemic business recovery for small, medium-sized, and women-owned businesses in Nigeria through funding and technical support. We are intentional about collaborations that upskill entrepreneurs, drive industrialisation and create economic value, wealth and employment for Nigerians.
“This collaboration also shows that AfDB truly believes in the growth potential of FCMB, the excellent corporate governance structures we have put in place and our strong performance over the years. We remain committed to empowering our customers and stakeholders to achieve their personal and business aspirations.”