Journalism of Courage

U.S. signs $280m with Access Bank for boosting SMEs in Nigeria

“… The $280 million loan from DFC will boost financial inclusion in Nigeria and empower women, bolstering the country's economic growth…

A commitment letter for $280 million in financing for Access Bank Plc in Nigeria has been signed by Access Bank and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

The Managing Director of Access Bank, Roosevelt Ogbonna, and DFC CEO, Scott Nathan, signed the commitment letter during a ceremony that took place when Nathan was in West Africa.

Persecondnews reports that through the bank’s dedication to assisting women-owned and led businesses, among other things, the loan would assist in bridging the funding gap for small- and medium-sized firms (SMEs) and advancing financial inclusion in Nigeria.

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, with specific focus on women-owned SMEs, and on loans with longer tenors, which will provide more flexibility to borrowers.

“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.

Also speaking, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, said: “We welcome U.S. International Development Finance Corporation CEO Scott Nathan to 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.”

On his part, Access Bank MD said the DFC financing for the bank will provide needed liquidity, given the global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “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.”

Persecondnews reports that Citibank acted as the coordinator and arranger/co-lender to help facilitate the loan.

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