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Finance

The Ecobank Group Secures €100 Million Credit Facility from European Investment Bank to Fund SMEs

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Ecobank - Investors King

Ecobank Group, the leading pan-African banking group, has signed an agreement for a €100 million long-term credit facility over 9 years with the European Investment Bank (EIB). The facility affirms joint Ecobank Group and EIB targeted support for business investment across Africa, with particular support for the sectors most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ade Ayeyemi, Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Group, said: “At Ecobank we are fully committed to providing a range of initiatives that support the growth and success of Africa’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and create employment opportunities. This informed the credit facility that we have just secured from the EIB which we believe will deliver real impact in our joint mission to develop SMEs across Africa. The €100 million facility will support the recovery of African SMEs from the COVID-19 pandemic while also helping to provide them with the impetus to grasp the immense growth opportunities from the African Continental Free Trade Area vast single market. We thank the EIB for its focus and commitment to the continent.

Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President, European Investment Bank, said: “The EIB, as part of Team Europe, works with leading banks and financial partners across Africa to enhance private sector access to finance. This latest cooperation with Ecobank Group will help companies to better tackle challenges triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, unlock economic and social opportunities, especially for SMEs and women-owned and women-run enterprises, across Sub-Saharan Africa in the coming weeks.”

The latest cooperation between Ecobank Group and the European Investment Bank to support private sector investment across Africa was formally agreed at the EU Delegation to Togo in Lomé, in the presence of Koen Doens, Director-General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission.

The announcement was made during a Team Europe visit to Togo by EIB Vice President Ambroise Fayolle, Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer of the Agence Française de Développement and Koen Doens.

The facility is split into three regional facilities: West & Central Africa, Eastern Africa, and Southern Africa. Funding will be provided through Ecobank affiliates, for investment projects undertaken by private sector companies. The EIB made the facility available through its COVID-19 Rapid Response Facility, for private sector entities active in eligible productive sectors, with fewer than 3,000 employees.

The EIB loan will also be accompanied by technical assistance under the AWRI (African Women Rising Initiative) program of the EIB with gender finance focused training and capacity building for lending to women entrepreneurs, closely aligned with the Ellevate by Ecobank initiative which supports women-focused businesses across the continent. Ecobank Group and EIB both recognise the importance of ensuring access to finance by female-owned and female-focused businesses, in particular during times of economic and investment uncertainty related to COVID-19. Ecobank Group and EIB are also working on a €15 million “SME Access to Finance” Risk Sharing Facility Agreement granted by the EU’s European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), that will support loans to SMEs worth €95 million.

This facility agreement follows on from the EIB’s signing of a €12.5 million loan to Ecobank Malawi in December 2020, to improve access to finance for SMEs in Malawi’s agricultural sector to expand, upgrade and modernise their equipment.

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Banking Sector

Foreign Exchange: First Bank to Discontinue Dollar Transactions on Naira Card

First Bank of Nigeria has announced that international transactions on its naira MasterCard will be suspended, Starting from 30th, September 2022

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FirstBank Headquarter - Investors King

First Bank of Nigeria has announced that international transactions on its naira MasterCard will be suspended, Starting from 30th, September 2022. 

In a recent email that First Bank sent to its customers, the bank stated customers will no longer be able to perform international transactions on First Bank Naira credit card, virtual card and visa prepaid card. 

The message read, “Due to current market realities on foreign exchange, you will no longer be able to use the Naira Mastercard, Naira Credit Card, our Virtual card and Visa Prepaid Naira card for international transactions. This will take effect on 30 September 2022,” First Bank said. 

The message added that customers can only use their multicurrency and other permitted cards to make international transactions. 

“Please use your Visa Debit Multicurrency Card, Visa Prepaid (USD) Card and Visa Gold Credit Card to continue transacting abroad with limits of up to $10,000.” The statement concluded.

It could be recalled that in July 2022, Standard Chartered Bank also suspended international transactions on its naira visa debit card. 

Other banks that have suspended international transactions on naira cards include Flutterwave, Eversend and other financial technology platforms.

Investors King had earlier reported that Nigerian banks have reduced international transactions to $20 on Naira cards due to the ongoing foreign exchange scarcity in Nigeria.

The reduction started in 2020 from $500 to $100 in 2021. In March 2022, many of the financial institutions subsequently reduced international transactions on naira cards to $20. 

At the 364th Bankers Committee Meeting in Abuja in 2021, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele disclosed that the apex bank will stop supplying foreign currency to Deposit Money Bank (DMBs) otherwise known as commercial banks by the end of the year.  He, therefore, urges them to source for their foreign exchange from export proceeds.

 

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Finance

FG Plans to Borrow to Finance 2023 Budget as Debt Profile Hits N42.84 Trillion

Nigeria’s total public debt stock is now N42.84 trillion, or $103.31 billion as of June 2022

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United States Dollar - Investors King Ltd

With the drop in oil production and Nigeria’s revenue generation, Nigeria’s public debt is projected to increase further in 2022 and 2023.

According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria’s total public debt stock is presently N42.84 trillion, or $103.31 billion as of June 2022. 

As of March 2022, Nigeria’s total debt profile was N41.60 trillion or $100.07 billion. This shows an increase of N1.24 trillion in three months. 

Investors King learnt from the statement published on the DMO website on Tuesday that the total debt represents the domestic and external debt stocks of the federal government, the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The statement further clarified that the foreign component of the debt stands at N16.61 trillion, or $39.96 billion, the same figure it was in March 2022. While the local component increased to N26.23 trillion or $63.24 billion.

The statement also disclosed that a higher proportion (58 percent) of the external debts were concessional and semi-concessional loans which the government obtained from multilateral financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, Afrexim and African Development Bank. 

These concessions and semi- concessions include loans from bilateral lenders such as Germany, China, Japan, India and France,”

Meanwhile, the increase in domestic debt stock from N24.98 trillion or $60.1 billion in March to N26.23 trillion or $63.24 billion in June was due to the credit facilities which the Federal Government raised to part-finance the deficit in the 2022 budget. 

Nigeria’s rising debt profile has been a major subject of discussion among analysts. Investors King earlier reported that the 2023 budget proposal has a deficit of more than N12 trillion which will likely be financed by another set of borrowings and subsequently increase the country’s debt profile. 

Nevertheless, the Debt Management Office, however, stated that Nigeria’s Debt-to-GDP ratio remains under control at 23.06 percent, Nigeria’s self-imposed limit of 40 percent. 

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Insurance

Prudential Zenith Life Insurance Grows Profit After Tax by 75 in 2021

Prudential Zenith Life Insurance Limited grew profit after tax by a whopping 75% to ₦1.13 billion, up from ₦646 million recorded in 2020.

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Prudential Zenith Life Insurance

Despite rising economic uncertainties and the challenging business environment experienced in 2021, Prudential Zenith Life Insurance Limited grew profit after tax by a whopping 75% to ₦1.13 billion, up from ₦646 million recorded in 2020.

The company disclosed this in its audited financial statement for the period ended December 31, 2021, and obtained by Investors King on Monday.

In the financial statement approved by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Gross Written Premium (GWP) and Annualized Premium Equivalent (APE) expanded by 16.3% and 9.3%, respectively. This was a result of the 27% growth recorded in new business acquisition for Group Life written during the period.

Similarly, investment income grew by 30% year-on-year due to a significant increase in the interest-generating assets of the company, and commission income also increased by 43% during the period.

The financial performance is a testament to the continued focus on investments, as the company remains committed to building a strong market-leading position in Nigeria by enhancing its capabilities, strengthening its digitally enabled multi-channel distribution network, and broadening the range of products and services that are available to customers in order to meet their needs.

Despite the challenges experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Prudential Zenith was able to achieve this strong growth in 2021 and is poised to continue improving its performance in the upcoming financial years. Prudential Zenith will continue to develop and launch unique products to meet customers’ needs, leveraging technology and its core corporate governance structure to deliver faster claims settlement. The company will also continue to prioritize the health, safety, and welfare of customers, who subscribe to its unique insurance product offerings.

Prudential Zenith Life Insurance Ltd (PZL) is a subsidiary of Prudential Plc., established in 2017 when Prudential Plc acquired a 51% holding in Zenith Life Insurance. PZL is one of the most capitalized companies in the Nigerian insurance industry with a wide range of individual products including savings & investments-linked products, endowment, and protection products designed to meet the needs of individuals and their families.  For corporate clients, the company’s product offerings include Group Life, Key-Man Assurance, Credit Life, School Fees Protection, and Mortgage Protection, ensuring that the welfare of clients’ staff and families are met.

Prudential Plc provides life and health insurance, and asset management in Africa and Asia, helping people get the most out of life by making healthcare affordable and accessible and by promoting financial inclusion. Prudential protects people’s wealth, helps them grow their assets, and empowers them to save for their goals. It has more than 19 million life customers and is listed on stock exchanges in London (PRU), Hong Kong (2378), Singapore (K6S), and New York (PUK).

Prudential Plc has insurance operations in eight countries in Africa: Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Togo Uganda, and Zambia.  With over 1 million customers, Prudential Africa works with over 11,000 agents and six exclusive bank partnerships, with access to over 600 branches to bring value-added insurance solutions to its customers.

 

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