Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has secured US$200 million in funding in agreement with Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPI”), the U.S. government’s development finance institution to empower Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and women business initiatives in Nigeria.
The bank disclosed this through corporate disclosure at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), adding that it secured the fund via a partnership with sub-Saharan Africa financial services group, Atlas Mara Limited.
Under the terms of the agreement, Union Bank will receive a ten-year term credit facility of up to US$200 million from OPIC for investments in digitization, on-lending to MEs and funding for women-led businesses, as part of OPIC’s 2X Women’s initiative which aims to catalyse US$1 billion for investment in women across developing nations.
It reads, “Earlier this year, Union Bank launched Alpher (α), a dynamic proposition aimed at uplifting women across all segments of the Nigerian society through capacity building opportunities, networking platforms, scholarships and tailored financial services for women.
Last year, Union Bank also introduced an innovative business acceleration programme, ‘Start up Connect’, which enables Nigerian businesses creating technology-based solutions to be more competitive in the rapidly expanding African technology market.
“Union Bank has been steadfast in providing innovative services where SMEs can access up to US$20,000 per quarter for importation without opening Letters of Credit or Bills for Collection under the Form Q scheme.”
Speaking on the funding milestone, Emeka Emuwa, CEO of Union Bank said, “We welcome this partnership with OPIC as we are well-positioned in Nigeria to further advance lending to key segments of the population, especially SMEs.
“The 10-year tenor of the OPIC facility provides flexibility to maximize impact across key sectors of the Nigerian economy as we continue to advance proven initiatives including those focused on women’s banking and financial inclusion.”
In the same vein, David Bohigian, acting president and CEO of OPIC also expressed OPIC’s enthusiasm in partnering with Atlas Mara and the team at Union Bank to drive inclusive lending in Nigeria.
“This funding benefits SMEs and women and will help serve the needs of underbanked and unbanked individuals and businesses while fostering entrepreneurship and economic development across Nigeria,” he said.