By Olivia Nnorom
The African Development Bank (AfDB) and First City Monument Bank (FCMB) have signed a $50 million Line of Credit agreement to support the access to capital for women-empowered businesses (WEBs) and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
FCMB will use the proceeds of the Line of Credit 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.
The AfDB will also provide 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 grant resources will be used by FCMB to provide non-financial services, including training and strengthening of its monitoring and reporting functions for WEBs.
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This partnership is expected to improve access to finance for at least 50 enterprises, with 29 of them in agribusiness and manufacturing, nine in renewable energy and 13 in the healthcare industry. At least 14 female entrepreneurs will be supported to access long-term funding and at least 1,000 jobs will be created or sustained.
“The African Development 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,” said Lamin Barrow, AfDB’s director-general, Nigeria Country Department.
“This collaboration will further expand FCMB’s financial support to this underserved group and contribute to the growth of the Nigerian economy,” Barrow said.
Barrow said the focus and objectives of the collaboration with FCMB are in line with the AfDB’s strategic priorities of promoting gender inclusivity, private sector development, industrialization, food security, and job creation in its regional member countries as encapsulated in the bank’s High-5 strategic priorities to ‘Industrialize Africa’ and ‘Feed Africa’.
The project also aligns with the objectives of the bank’s AFAWA initiative, which aims to improve gender inclusivity by improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs.
The AfDB is an implementing partner of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, a groundbreaking partnership housed in the World Bank Group that aims to unlock financing for women-led businesses in developing countries.
The bank anchors its current Nigeria strategy on two pillars: supporting infrastructure development and promoting social inclusion through agribusiness and skills development. It believes there are numerous opportunities for the youth and women from its financing and non-lending activities.
First City Monument Bank is a Nigerian purpose beyond-profit commercial banking institution with around 5 million customers. A member of FCMB Group Plc, the bank had total assets of around $5 billion as at the end of 2020.