- A $30 million facility to reinforce FirstBank’s commitment to gender financing for women-owned and led enterprises.
• The partnership will increase funding to local SMEs in Nigeria to help them expand and promote financial and social inclusion.
- The facility adds US$100 million to CDC/BII’s contribution to the 2XChallenge
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s primary and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced a US$100 million finance facility with CDC Group, the UK Government’s development finance organization. This new facility will provide money to women-led and owned firms in Nigeria, as well as local small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
The agreement would enable FirstBank to provide financial solutions that help underbanked and underserved communities in the country overcome their lack of access to finance. A minimum of $30 million in loan lines will be available to women entrepreneurs as part of the new institution. The facility will also complement FirstBank’s ‘FirstGem’ gender-focused services offering, which aims to improve lending and support to female entrepreneurs in order to promote gender inclusion.
The new alliance between CDC and FirstBank, which will be rebranded by British International Investment in April, reflects a common purpose to promote Nigeria’s long-term, productive, and equitable growth.
The CDC’s contribution would enable FirstBank to expand its offerings to its customers, accelerating financial inclusion and expanding chances for marginalized groups, such as Nigeria’s estimated 59 million unbanked citizens, to engage in the country’s formal economy.
As a result, the alliance will take advantage of FirstBank’s vast network of over 700 branches and 150,000+ agents, allowing it to scale financial solutions to underbanked entrepreneurs and populations.
In addition, CDC/BII will support FirstBank with a technical assistance programme which will build on the Bank’s knowledge base of the women-led and women-owned businesses in its portfolio, strengthening the Bank’s technical capabilities and ability to reinforce its commitment to gender-based initiatives. This will enable the Bank to further leverage the facility to provide vital funding to scale business growth across Nigeria’s market – increasing job creation and improving livelihoods throughout the country.
The 2x Challenge qualifies this facility since it aims to promote financial inclusion and opportunities for women. The 2x Challenge is a pledge by the G7 development finance institutions (DFIs) to mobilize funds to support increased economic empowerment for women in emerging nations. Furthermore, the US$100 million pledge is in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 8, respectively, on gender equality and decent work and economic growth.
“Promoting financial inclusion is a vital component for achieving widespread productive and sustainable growth across both rural and urban communities in Nigeria,” said Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of CDC Group. The CDC’s flexible and long-term capital will be channeled into extending the financial options available to women entrepreneurs, who are often the driving force behind small company ideas and services in their communities.
“Our commitment demonstrates a deepening of British partnership with Nigeria’s businesses, as we collaborate to unlock the potential for entrepreneurial success and economic growth across the country.”
Adesola Adeduntan, Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank said: “Beyond the mutual benefits this partnership offers to both organisations, this transaction offers yet, another occasion for FirstBank to contribute immensely, to the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals.
“Enabling financial inclusion for SMEs has been a strategic priority for FirstBank over the last 128 years. Similarly, FirstBank has been at the forefront of financially empowering women-owned and women-led businesses on the continent. This partnership with CDC/BII offers a fantastic opportunity to accelerate the momentum.
“At FirstBank, we remain ever committed to fostering financial inclusion, creating wealth for the underserved, enhancing access to quality education and health care, improving lives and empowering women.”