NIGERIA — Nigeria’s First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited has secured a US$50M loan from IFC to help it expand lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) so they can sustain business activities disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, in a statement explained that the loan was made through IFC’s COVID-19 fast-track financing support package.

According to IFC, the support to FCMB reflects IFC’s commitment to Nigeria’s private sector following the severe challenges brought by the health and economic crisis.

The funds will allow FCMB to support hundreds of businesses with trade financing and working capital loans.

 “IFC’s loan facility will allow us to keep credit flowing to SMEs as well as corporate companies across all sectors of Nigeria’s economy, including in the health, pharmaceutical, food and trading industries,” FCMB’s Chief Executive, Adam Nuru, said

IFC’s Country Manager for Nigeria, Eme Essien Lore, said, “Supporting financial institutions like FCMB is vital to keeping smaller businesses solvent, saving jobs, and limiting economic damage in the face of a challenge as formidable as COVID-19.”

The Loan to FCMB follows a similar financing advanced to Tunisia’s largest date exporter VACPA.

IFC committed a total of US$12.41 million to the Tunisian company to help it cushion its business from the adverse effects of the COVID19 pandemic.

Part of the financing will be used as working capital to meet VACPA’s immediate needs while the other part will be used to expand its operations, diversify into date concentrate production, and improve the supply chain.

IFC’s US$8 billion global COVID-19 fast track facility was launched in March 2020 to support existing clients through direct lending to affected companies and to financial institutions so they can continue lending to their clients and help to preserve and create jobs.

With a network of 205 branches, FCMB serves more than 4.5 million customers in Nigeria.

IFC’s portfolio in the country stands at $1.3 billion in sectors including manufacturing, financial services, infrastructure and technology.

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