AfDB Gives FCMB Fresh $50m to Finance Women-owned Businesses

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By Adedapo Adesanya

An additional $50 million line of credit has been given to First City Monument Bank (FCMB) by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance small and medium-sized and women-owned businesses.

FCMB will use the loan to expand lending activities that will boost the country’s post-pandemic economic recovery and drive more inclusive and climate-resilient growth. It will focus on enterprises in Nigeria’s agribusiness, manufacturing, healthcare, and renewable energy sectors.

The bank is also providing a complementary technical assistance package of $285,000 under its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative.

The grant funding, provided by the Women Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative (We-Fi), will support enhancing financial literacy, business management, and entrepreneurial skills for women-led businesses, as well as strengthening FCMB’s monitoring and reporting functions.

The bank’s support of FCMB will advance the objectives of the AFAWA initiative, which seeks to improve gender inclusivity by enhancing access to finance for women entrepreneurs.

Speaking on this, AfDB’s Director General for Nigeria, Mr Lamin Barrow, said, “The Bank’s support to FCMB will advance the objectives of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative, which seeks to improve gender inclusivity by enhancing access to finance for women entrepreneurs.

“With at least 30 per cent of the funding from the Line of Credit to be channelled to women-owned businesses, FCMB will be better positioned to scale up the deployment of its tailored products and services to meet the needs of SMEs and women-owned businesses.”

On her part, FCMB’s Managing Director, Mrs Yemisi Edun, said, “We are happy to collaborate with the African Development Bank to create expanded opportunities and accelerate post-COVID-19 pandemic business recovery for SMEs and women-owned businesses in Nigeria through funding and technical support. We are intentional about collaboration that upskills entrepreneurs, drives industrialisation and creates economic value, wealth, and employment for Nigerians.”

She said that the agreement affirmed the African Development Bank’s confidence in FCMB’s growth potential and corporate governance structures.

The project is expected to improve access to finance for at least 50 enterprises: 29 in the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors, 9 in renewable energy, and 13 in the healthcare industry. It will create a minimum of 1000 jobs and enable roughly 14 female entrepreneurs to gain access to long-term funding.

AfDB anchors its current Nigeria strategy on two pillars: supporting infrastructure development and promoting social inclusion through agribusiness and skills development.

Its current Nigeria portfolio comprises 53 operations with a total value of $4.5 billion. Thirty of these operations, with a value of $2.7 billion, are sovereign operations; the 23 non-sovereign operations have a value of $1.8 billion.

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