AfDB, FCMB Sign $50m Agreement to Enhance Access to Finance for SMEs

 Kayode Tokede

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed a $50 million Line of Credit Agreement with First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to support access to finance for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), as well as Women-empowered Businesses (WEBs). 

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 COVID-19 pandemic on the business environment in which the beneficiary enterprises operate.

Also, the AfDB will partner FCMB through 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. FCMB will deploy the grant resources to provide non-financial services, including training and strengthening of its monitoring and reporting functions for WEBs.

Other outcomes expected from the operation are improved access to finance for at least 50 enterprises, out of which 29 are envisaged to be in agribusiness and manufacturing, nine in renewable energy and 13 in the healthcare industry. A minimum of 14 female entrepreneurs will be supported to access long-term funding and at least 1,000 jobs created or sustained.

The AfDB’s Director General, Nigeria Country Department, Lamin Barrow, in a statement said:  “The AfDB is pleased to partner with FCMB, a financial institution that has continuously demonstrated commitment to supporting and financing small and medium-sised enterprises and women entrepreneurs. 

“This collaboration will further expand FCMB’s financial support to this underserved group and contribute to the growth of the Nigerian economy.”

Barrow said the focus and objectives of the Bank’s collaboration with FCMB, were in line with the African Development Bank’s strategic priorities of promoting gender inclusivity, private sector development, industrialisation, food security, and job creation in the bank’s regional member countries as encapsulated in the bank’s High-5 Strategic Priorities to ‘Industrialise Africa’, and ‘Feed Africa’.

The project 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 partnership housed in the World Bank Group that aims to unlock financing for women-led businesses in developing countries.

The Managing Director, FCMB Limited, Yemisi Edun, in a statement said, “We are happy to collaborate with the African Development Bank to create expanded opportunities and accelerate post-COVID-19 pandemic business recovery for small, medium-sized, and women-owned businesses in Nigeria through funding and technical support. 

“We are intentional about collaborations that upskill entrepreneurs, drive industrialisation, and create economic value, wealth and employment for Nigerians.” 

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