The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Fortis Microfinance Bank (Fortis) yesterday signed an agreement for a N1 billion facility to be used for lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
A statement from the AfDB explained that the partnership with Fortis is expected to boost Nigeria’s private sector development through financing of projects that are strategically aligned to the country’s development agenda.
AfDB Country Director in Nigeria, Dr. Ousmane Dore underscored the importance of strengthening micro finance initiatives, adding: “Unless those at the bottom of the pyramid have access to finance, poverty will remain a major development issue.’’
He re-affirmed the bank’s commitment to promote inclusive, private sector-led growth and employment creation in Nigeria and across the continent.
Speaking during the signing, Fortis Managing Director and CEO, Tiko Okoye said the deal was significant as it underscored the firm’s desire to empower SMEs in the country.
“The collaboration with the AfDB has added a significant boost to the realisation of our dreams of empowering more Nigerian households through the SMEs.
“SMEs across all climes are the engine of most economies, Nigeria and Africa inclusive. A more formidable SMEs sector will lead to a stronger Nigerian economy,” he added.