The International Council to AELEX Legal Practitioners and Arbitrators, Dr. Adesegun Akin-Olugbade, has urged private businesses to harness opportunities available in Development Finance Banks (DFIs) to grow the businesses.
Akin-Olugbade, who recently retired as an executive director and General Council at Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and also held management positions in the African Export–Import Bank (AFREXIM), African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and other DFIs, made this call yesterday at the AELEX business roundtable in Lagos.
He said: “The private sector should be aware that these DFIs exists, particularly the pan-African ones such as the AfDB, Afreximbank, AFC and Africa50. So, there should be aware that there are possible funding for their projects. “Secondly is how they can package their projects to make them attractive for financing by these DFIs.
“So they should understand they exist and structure their projects to make them eligible.
“This roundtable is a knowledge sharing session. I want people to be aware that in an environment where access to credit is shrinking and where interest rates in Nigeria, for example, are in double- digits, this is an opportunity to get funding at reasonable rates and in foreign currency.”
He said further: “You have constraints in terms of foreign currency funding; you have constraints in terms of interest rates, so DFIs are an option because they are able to raise funding at cheaper rates at investments grade.”
Responding to a question on how Nigeria could bridge infrastructure deficit through accessing funds from DFIs, he said: “The projects are not properly packaged. Most of the projects are not bankable to attract the financing that is required to implement them.
“So what you need are people to make them bankable to become attractive for funding. And again, some of these institutions have project development facilities that help you prepare your projects so that they become bankable and therefore eligible for financing.”
On his part, the Partner, AELEX, who also leads the firm’s banking and finance practice, Mr. Lawrence Fubara Anga, said: “The purpose of the roundtable is capacity building and knowledge sharing. It is also to demonstrate that we have the capacity.
“This is the first banking roundtable with Akin-Olugbade who joined the firm as international council a few months ago and we people to know we have a man of his caliber and status that has been on the ground floor of almost every major DFI banks.”