CDC Group, the UK Government’s development finance institution announced on Monday a $100 million finance facility to First Bank of Nigeria Plc.
In a statement, the CDC which will be renamed British International Investment (BII) in April, said that the new facility will direct funding to women-owned and led businesses as well as to local Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
It said the deal will support FirstBank, one of Nigeria’s largest banking groups, to deliver financial solutions that help to address the challenge of limited access to capital faced by underbanked and underserved groups in the country.
As part of the new facility, a minimum of $30 million will be allocated in the form of credit lines to women entrepreneurs.
The facility will also support FirstBank’s ‘FirstGem’ gender-focused services offering, which promotes gender inclusion by improving lending and support to female entrepreneurs.
According to the statement, the new partnership between CDC/BII and First- Bank demonstrates a shared mission to spur sustainable, productive and inclusive growth in Nigeria.
The statement said: “CDC’s commitment will facilitate an expanded offer by FirstBank to its clientele, which will accelerate financialinclusionandincreaseopportunities for marginalised groups, including an estimated 59 million unbanked Nigerians, to participate in the country’s formal economy.
As such, the partnership will capitalise on the First- Bank’s expansive network of over 700 branches and 150,000+ agents, leveraging its market leading expertise 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 statement noted that the facility’s target to increase financial inclusion and opportunities for women qualifies it under the 2x Challenge –a commitment by the development finance institutions (DFIs) of the G7 to mobilise capital to support increased economic empowerment for women in emerging economies.