Access Bank has signed a commitment letter for $280 million SMEs financing with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
Access Bank Managing Director, Roosevelt Ogbonna and DFC CEO, Scott Nathan, signed the letter in Lagos on Monday.
The loan will help address the financing gap for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and advance financial inclusion in Nigeria, including through the bank’s commitment to supporting women-owned and -led businesses, according to a statement by the U.S Mission to Nigeria.
“DFC’s investment in Access Bank demonstrates U.S. support for private sector-led development in Nigeria and throughout West Africa,” said Nathan. “The $280 million loan from DFC will boost financial inclusion in Nigeria and empower women, bolstering the country’s economic growth.”
U.S.Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, noted the Mission looks forward to discussing with the public and private sectors how DFC funding can be leveraged.
This is in a bid to unleash the full economic potential of Nigeria through support to the country’s small and medium-sized businesses, financial sector, and climate change-focused enterprises, according to her.
“Access Bank is extremely pleased to announce this strategic partnership with DFC to support the multitude of businesses across Nigeria who stand to benefit from greater access to finance,” said Ogbonna.
He said this is especially needed in “an environment that is in need of stronger economic diversification.”
He added that the looks forward to utilizing the partnership with DFC in driving further economic expansion and inclusion in Nigeria,”with a strong focus on non-oil sectors and women businesses.”
In his remarks, Citi EMEA Head of Emeerging Markets Corporate Bank said “We are delighted to have collaborated with Access Bank and DFC on this significant transaction, which will significantly boost SME corporate activity in Nigeria.”
He added that the gesture is yet another milestone stride for Citi as it executes a focused local-economy development strategy based on “solid partnerships with key clients and development agencies.”
DFC financing for Access Bank will provide needed liquidity given the global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan is expected to support at least 4,000 new SME loans in Nigeria.
In addition, the loan proceeds will be on-lent across more than a dozen sectors in the Nigerian economy, with specific focus on women-owned SMEs, and on loans with longer tenors, which will provide more flexibility to borrowers.
Citibank acted as the coordinator and arranger/co-lender to help facilitate the loan.