By Dipo Olowookere About 10,000 Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) have been targeted by the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) and LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited for funding support to alleviate the financial constraints they face. This information was disclosed in a statement issued by DBN, Nigeria\u2019s first wholesale development finance institution. The development bank, which commenced operations last year, was conceived by the federal government in collaboration with World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), European Investment Bank (EIB), German Development Bank (KfW), and the French Agency for Development (AFD), to address financing challenges facing MSMEs in Nigeria. \u201cThis is a milestone achievement and I am particularly happy that we are getting a lot of traction on our lending activities with LAPO. \u201cThe collaboration is encouraging because they were among the first three microfinance banks we commenced our initial pilot lending with in November 2017,\u201d DBN said in the statement it released last week. Managing Director of LAPO Microfinance Bank, Mr Godwin Ehigiamusoe, while commenting on the funding package, stated that, \u201cWe strongly believe in the capacity and potentials of the MSMEs in alleviating poverty and creating jobs for our growing population.\u201d He said further that, \u201cWe are happy with the partnership and we will continue to work with DBN to ensure that collectively, we are able provide the much-needed funding that the MSMEs require to flourish.\u201d \u201cAccording to the IFC MSME Finance Gap Report in 2017, there are over 37 million MSMEs contributing to over 50 per cent of Nigeria\u2019s gross domestic product (GDP). However, less than five per cent of these businesses have access to credit in the financial system. \u201cDBN\u2019s entrance and its interventions are therefore, relevant and timely. \u201cThey will reverse this trend by making it easier for MSMEs to access financing to build and expand their businesses and unleash the power of the MSME business segment to drive national economic development,\u201d he said. LAPO Microfinance Bank is a pro-poor financial institution committed to the social and economic empowerment of low-income households through provision of access to responsive financial services on a sustainable basis.