BY ONOME AMUGE
First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and Mastercard Foundation have joined forces to provide subsidised loans to 100,000 Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), to scale their operations to create work opportunities and empower Nigerian youths.
The programme, set to be executed through a novel $27.8 million or N15.5 billion MSME Revitalisation Fund which is part of the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy in Nigeria, aims to sustainably move Nigerian youths out of poverty and support their business ventures by ensuring that qualified MSMEs get access loans for their businesses at a single-digit interest rate.
A joint statement by the organisations said seventy percent of the MSME revitalisation fund targets women-owned MSMEs in agribusiness, the creative industry, and digital sector, while the remaining 30 percent will be deployed to meet the funding needs of youth-owned enterprises and businesses run by vulnerable members within Nigeria.
Yemisi Edun, managing director of FCMB, described the initiative as a purpose-driven intervention that would further help alleviate the financial challenges hindering productivity and overall success of MSMEs in Nigeria.
According to Edun, the past few years have been very challenging for individuals, households, and businesses in Nigeria, creating the need for all hands to be on deck to foster opportunities that will sustainably enable people and businesses to find their footing and stand on more solid ground.
She noted further that the financial services holding company is proud to partner with the Mastercard Foundation to rebuild businesses, drive recovery, and stimulate economic growth by providing the much-needed support to Nigerians to engage in productive activities.
“As a caring and inclusive institution, we will deploy our products, services, and other excellent offerings to ensure that this partnership achieves the desired results,” she said.
Chidinma Lawanson, the Mastercard Foundation’s country head for Nigeria, expressed optimism that the partnership will enable the organisation to scale its support to reach even more young people and communities that have been affected by the pandemic.
“Together with our partners and others, we will continue to ensure that our efforts enable young people, especially young women, to access quality education, skills, and financial services so that they can transition to dignified and fulfilling work,” Lawanson stated.