Access Bank Plc has secured a $50 million loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
In a statement, the World Bank subsidiary said it is providing the loan to help the bank increase liquidity to thousands of SMEs in the country which are navigating the economic challenges of COVID-19.
“The funds from the loan, made through IFC’s global COVID-19 fast-track financing support package, will allow Access Bank to provide increased trade financing and working capital to their business clients experiencing disrupted cash flows, supporting business activity and preserving jobs,” the statement read.
Herbert Wigwe, chief executive officer of Access Bank, said it is important to ensure adequate finance for SMEs especially during these difficult times because they contribute over 45 percent of Nigeria’s GDP and account for about 96 percent of businesses and 84 percent of employment.
“IFC’s funding will not only enable us to extend financial relief to our clients across all sectors during the pandemic but beyond the COVID-19 crisis as well. Our partnership with IFC will help Nigerian businesses weather COVID-19 and set a course for recovery,” he said.
Eme Essien Lore, IFC country manager for Nigeria, said: “It is crucial to support smaller businesses to keep Nigeria’s economy going during this unprecedented economic challenge.
“IFC’s longstanding partnership with Access Bank means together we can move much-needed funding to businesses that need it most, helping them remain in business and retain their employees.”
The new offer is part of IFC’s global COVID-19 fast track facility, worth $8 billion. It was launched in March 2020 to support business activity and preserve jobs in the face of COVID-19 and so far it has invested about $400 million through the facility in Africa.