Union Bank recently announced the receipt of $200m from its overseas partners to boost Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. The fund is a 10-year term facility, with a large chunk going to entrepreneurs as loans, and the rest into enhancing digital infrastructure.
Atlas Mara Limited, a Sub-saharan investment group, and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) based in the US, are the 2 partners that facilitated the funds. The $200m will go a long way to invigorate the growth of enterprise in Nigeria.
Women-led SMEs stand a chance of receiving major funding from the largesse as stipulated by Union Bank. Meanwhile, other businesses not run by the female folks will also come in for consideration.
David Bohigian, the Chief Executive Officer OPIC, said, the fund will “benefit SMEs and women and will help serve the needs of underbanked and unbanked individuals and businesses while fostering entrepreneurship and economic development across Nigeria.”
Emeka Emuwa, the Chief Operating Officer of Union Bank, believe the fund will go long way to advance enterprise footprint in the country. According to him, “We welcome this partnership with OPIC as we are well-positioned in Nigeria to further advance lending to key segments of the population, especially SMEs.
He added, “The 10-year tenor of the OPIC facility provides flexibility to maximize impact across key sectors of the Nigerian economy as we continue to advance proven initiatives including those focused on women’s banking and financial inclusion”.
Africa’s largest economy is seeking way forward for an ailing economy as the price of oil, its major revenue stream, is expected to continue to fluctuate. Agriculture, technology, entertainment and the fashion industry have been given priority by the federal government and financial institutions as the locus for economic revival.
There is hardly a better time to do business in Nigeria in the face of renewed policy drives and availability funds to help SMEs jumpstart the expected revival.