Financial inclusion: US-DFC commits $280m in financing to Nigeria’s Access Bank

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Nigeria’s Access Bank and the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) have signed a commitment letter for a $280 million financing to assist in tackling the gap in financing for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

  • The financial resource remains particularly significant in an ecosystem needing greater economic diversification.
  • The $280 million loan will prove beneficial to at least 4,000 new SMEs in Nigeria.
  • Access Bank Plc was conferred with the MSECB Management System Certificate in line with the management system requirements in ISO 37301:2021.

Nigeria’s Access Bank and the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) have signed a commitment letter for a $280 million financing to assist in tackling the gap in financing for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

In a statement issued, the US Embassy observed that the DFC CEO, Scott Nathan and Access Bank Managing Director, Roosevelt Ogbonna, signed the commitment in Lagos on Monday25 July.

The loan will also advance financial inclusion in Nigeria, encouraging Access Bank’s commitment to backing women-owned enterprises. Nathan noted that the investment in Access Bank demonstrates U.S. support for private sector-led development and bolsters economic growth in Nigeria and throughout West Africa

U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard observed the move represents welcome progress for Nigeria. DFC remains focused on deliberations with the public and private sectors on capitalising on the funding to realise Nigeria’s full economic potential. According to the U.S. Ambassador, attaining full potential calls for support for the financial sector and climate-friendly enterprises.

Read: High food prices push Nigeria’s annual inflation

Support for businesses

Mr Ogbonna, while reacting to the deal, expressed his satisfaction in the strategic partnership with DFC to fund various enterprises across Nigeria that stand to reap benefits from a wider financial resource pool. The financial resource remains particularly significant in an ecosystem needing greater economic diversification.

“We look forward to utilising the partnership with DFC in driving further economic expansion and inclusion in Nigeria, with a strong focus on non-oil sectors and women businesses,” Mr Ogbonna said.

Rizwan Shaikh, Citi EMEA Head of Emerging Markets Corporate Bank, stated that the firm was happy to collaborate with DFC and Access Bank on the crucial transaction, which points towards a significant boost for Nigeria’s SME corporate movements.

Shaikh said: “This is yet another milestone stride for Citi as it executes a focused local-economy development strategy based on solid partnerships with key clients and development agencies.”

DFC funding for Access Bank offers much-needed liquidity considering the global economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and price shocks from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The $280 million loan will prove beneficial to at least 4,000 new SMEs in Nigeria. Moreover, the loan proceeds will be on-lent over more than a dozen sectors in the Nigerian economy. Specific attention will be on women-owned SMEs and longer tenor loans, offering the borrowers greater flexibility.

Access Bank is among the largest Nigerian banks with subsidiaries across Africa. Citibank played the co-lender/arranger and coordinator role to assist in facilitating the loan.

Access bank certified against the compliance management system iso 37301:2021 standard

Meanwhile, in recognition of its outstanding resolve to achieve sustainable business continuity, Access Bank Plc was conferred the MSECB Management System Certificate in line with the management system requirements in ISO 37301:2021. The conferment will see Access bank become the first financial institution to acquire such certification against this standard.

The certification got issued after a review of the Bank’s compliance management system contribution to SDGs 8, 16 and 11, upholding the commitment to promote sustainable, inclusive, and sustained economic growth. Further, Access Bank has also proven its resolve for productive and full employment and work for all; promoting inclusive and peaceful societies for sustainable development, offering access to justice for all, building effective, inclusive and accountable institutions at all levels, as well as making human settlements and cities safe, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient.

While making remarks on the achievement, the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc., Roosevelt Ogbonna, stated that “This certification demonstrates that the Bank’s Board of Directors and Management remains committed to meeting internationally accepted standards in our global banking operations, particularly in the areas of sustainability and compliance. We believe that attaining this global standard would deepen our stakeholders’ trust in our institution as we continue to innovatively bridge worlds and connect customers to opportunities.”

The certification, valid for three years, is subject to satisfactory scrutiny audits and will also apply as a tool for management evaluation. The tool will evaluate Access Bank’s business continuity operations, policies, management compliance systems, and sustainability practices. Published in April 2021, the ISO 37301 Compliance Management System seeks to provide a certifiable global benchmark for compliance systems.

Read: From Aid to Trade, the future of US-Africa relations

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