The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a loan of $50 million to Nigeria’s First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to channel to local enterprises and women-empowered businesses in the agribusiness, manufacturing, healthcare and renewable energy sectors.
Thirty percent of the funds, which are intended to mitigate effects of the challenging Covid-19 environment, are earmarked for underserved women-empowered businesses.
In addition, the Bank will 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 complement the loan by enabling First City Monument Bank 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,” said Stefan Nalletamby, the African Development Bank’s Director of Financial Sector Development. “This project will extend valuable resources to critical but underserved segments during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with its adverse macroeconomic impacts.”
Small- and medium-sized firms account for up to 80% of employment in most African countries and women-empowered businesses typically face a considerable financing gap. The Nigerian economy has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and falling crude oil prices have had a ripple effect on the wider economy.
FCMB is a Nigerian commercial bank with around 5 million customers. It had total assets of around $5 billion as at the end of 2020.
The project aligns with the objectives of AFAWA, which aims to improve gender inclusivity by improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs. The project also advances the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy and is consistent with three of its High-5 strategic priorities: 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.
The African Development Bank is an implementing partner of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, a groundbreaking partnership housed in the World Bank Group that aims to unlock financing for women-led businesses in developing countries.