NIGERIA — Nigeria-based multinational financial services, Access Bank Plc has secured a US$50 to support Nigerian’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in navigating the economic challenges of COVID-19.

The loan follows an earlier announced by Access Bank that it had completed the acquisition of Transnational Bank (Kenya) Plc, a medium sized commercial bank that mainly focuses on Kenya’s agricultural sector.

IFC explained that the funds from the loan were made through its global COVID-19 fast-track financing support package.

According to the IFC statement, Access Bank is expected to use funds from the loans to “provide increased trade financing and working capital to their business clients experiencing disrupted cash flows, supporting business activity and preserving jobs.”

Herbert Wigwe, Chief Executive of Access Bank, noted that SMEs in Nigeria, account for over 45 percent of national GDP.

According to Wigwe, SMEs also account for about 96 percent of businesses in Nigeria and 84 percent of employment.

“Their importance in Nigeria’s economy stability thus made the Bank to go the extra mile to ensure that such businesses are adequately financed to weather these testing times,” Wigwe explained.

The Chief Executive of Access Bank further explained that IFC’s funding will enable the Bank to extend financial relief to its clients across all sectors during the pandemic and beyond.

“Our partnership with IFC will help Nigerian businesses weather COVID-19 and set a course for recovery,” Wigwe stated with confidence.

“It is crucial to support smaller businesses to keep Nigeria’s economy going during this unprecedented economic challenge.” Eme Essien Lore, IFC Country Manager for Nigeria, said.

IFC’s $8 billion global COVID-19 fast track facility was launched in March 2020 to support business activity and preserve jobs in the face of COVID-19.

The Facility according to the multilateral financial corporation, has so far invested nearly $400 million through the facility in Africa.

IFC’s – a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.

Its portfolio in Nigeria stands at $1.3 billion, with investments in sectors including manufacturing, technology, financial services, and others.

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