The board of directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) says it has approved a loan of $50 million to the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to enhance the financing of Nigerian enterprises and women-empowered businesses in the agribusiness, manufacturing, healthcare and renewable energy sectors.
This was disclosed by Stefan Nalletamby, the African Development Bank’s Director of Financial Sector Development in a statement titled ‘Nigeria: African Development Bank bolsters women-empowered businesses with $50m loan to FCMB bank’ on Wednesday.
It said at least thirty percent of the funds that are meant to cushion the effects of the challenging COVID-19 environment, are earmarked for underserved women-empowered businesses.
In addition, the bank is expected to provide a technical assistance grant of $200,000 through its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative supported by the Women Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative.
The grant will therefore complement the loan by enabling FCMB to provide non-financial services, including training, and to strengthen its monitoring and reporting functions.
“The African Development Bank is pleased to support FCMB’s strategy to become a dominant player in addressing the funding needs of women-empowered and local enterprises.
“This project will extend valuable resources to critical but underserved segments during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with its adverse macroeconomic impacts,” Nalletamby said.
It was also stated that small and medium-sized firms account for up to 80 per cent of employment in most African countries and women-empowered businesses typically face a considerable financing gap.
The AfDB noted that the project aligns with the objectives of AFAWA, which aims to improve gender inclusivity by improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs.
It added that the project also advances the bank’s ten-year strategy and is consistent with three of its high-five strategic priorities which are to industrialize Africa, feed Africa, and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. It also aligns with the Nigeria Country Strategy Paper 2020-2024.