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Access Bank secures $280 mln US development finance facility to support women-led SMEs

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The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has signed a financing pact worth $280 million with Nigeria’s Access Bank Limited to enable the local lender to provide funding for small and medium-size businesses.

The pact was signed by IDFC chief Executive, Scott Nathan and the Managing Director of Access Bank, Roosevelt Ogbonna on behalf of the two lenders.

They said the facility would help bridge 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.

“DFC’s investment in Access Bank demonstrates U.S. support for private sector-led development in Nigeria and throughout West Africa,” said DFC CEO Nathan.

“The $280 million loan from DFC will boost financial inclusion in Nigeria and empower women, bolstering the country’s economic growth.

“We welcome U.S. International Development Finance Corporation CEO Scott Nathan to Nigeria,” said U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard.

“We look forward to discussing with the public and private sectors how DFC funding can be leveraged 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.

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“Access Bank is extremely pleased to announce this strategic partnership with DFC to support the multitude of businesses across Nigeria who stands to benefit from greater access to finance, especially in an environment that is in need of stronger economic diversification, said Managing Director of Access Bank, Roosevelt Ogbonna.

“We look 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.

“We are delighted to have collaborated with Access Bank and DFC on this significant transaction, which will significantly boost SME corporate activity in Nigeria,” said Citi EMEA Head of Emerging Markets Corporate Bank, Rizwan Shaikh.

“This is yet another milestone stride for Citi as it executes a focused local economic 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.

Access Bank is one of the largest banks in Nigeria and has banking subsidiaries throughout Africa. Citibank acted as the coordinator and arranger/co-lender to help facilitate the loan.

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