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Access Bank secures $280m funding commitment from US agency to support SMEs

Access Bank Plc has secured a $280 million funding commitment from the International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.

The public affairs section of US Consulate General which announced the development in a statement on Monday, said Scott Nathan, chief executive officer (CEO), DFC and Roosevelt Ogbonna, managing director, Access Bank, signed the commitment letter.

According to the statement, the agreement was signed at a ceremony in Nigeria during Nathan’s visit.

It said the loan would help address the financing gap for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and advance financial inclusion in Nigeria.

“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 a specific focus on women-owned SMEs, and on loans with longer tenors, which will provide more flexibility to borrowers,” the statement reads.

In his remarks, Nathan said DFC’s investment in Access Bank demonstrated US’s support for private sector-led development in Nigeria and throughout West Africa.

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

On her part, Mary Beth Leonard, US ambassador to Nigeria, said: “We welcome U.S. International Development Finance Corporation CEO Scott Nathan to Nigeria.

“We look forward to discussing with the public and private sectors [on] 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.”

Also speaking, Ogbonna expressed delight at the strategic partnership with DFC to support the multitude of businesses across Nigeria that stand to “benefit from greater access to finance, especially in an environment that is in need of stronger economic diversification”.

“We look forward to utilising the partnership with DFC in driving further economic expansion and inclusion in Nigeria, with a strong focus on non-oil sectors and women businesses,” Ogbonna said.

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