Access Bank Plc and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), have entered into an agreement that will create funding opportunities for small businesses in Nigeria.
In this regard, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of DFC, Scott Nathan has signed a commitment letter for $280 million in financing for Access Bank Plc in Nigeria alongside Access Bank Managing Director Roosevelt Ogbonna.
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,” said DFC CEO Scott Nathan. “The $280 million loan from DFC will boost financial inclusion in Nigeria and empower women, bolstering the country’s economic growth.”
“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,” said Roosevelt Ogbonna, Managing Director of Access Bank. “We look forward to utilising the partnership with DFC in driving further economic expansion and inclusion in Nigeria, with a strong focus on non-oil sectors and women businesses.”
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, with specific focus on women-owned SMEs, and on loans with longer tenors, which will provide more flexibility to borrowers.
“We welcome U.S. International Development Finance Corporation CEO Scott Nathan to Nigeria,” said Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard. “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.”
Rizwan Shaikh, Citi EMEA Head of Emerging Markets, Corporate Bank, also expressed delight that the transaction “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,” Shaikh added.
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.