In other to support the development of approximately five thousand micro and small enterprises in the country, Citibank Nigeria has extended a loan of N500 million to Accion Microfinance Bank (Accion MFB).
Citibank in a statement said the agreement will also support the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) to reduce the number of excluded population by bringing them into the formal banking fold.
Giving more insights to the deal, Citibank Nigeria Chief Executive Officer, Akin Dawodu noted that “As at 2012, according to a survey by the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), about 39.7% or 34.9 million adult Nigerians were excluded from financial services”.
“The NFIS focuses on working with financial institutions to increase access of the unbanked population to banking products under affordable terms and conditions with the overall objective to empower people, promote savings culture, increase productivity and reduce poverty.
“Citi is committed to working with Microfinance partners in support of the national financial inclusion strategy by availing credit to micro and small enterprises in Nigeria.”
Continuing, he said “We are delighted to partner with microfinance enablers such as OPIC and Accion MFB for the benefit of SMEs and micro entrepreneurs, thereby contributing to the economic development of the country.”
Also commenting on the agreement, chief executive of Accion MFB, Mrs. Bunmi Lawson said “This funding from Citibank will enable Accion Microfinance Bank expand its financial services to a larger number of micro entrepreneurs across the country leading to economic empowerment and job creation for more Nigerians”.
“We hope that other financial institutions will emulate Citibank by providing loans to the Microfinance banks which will in turn ensure that we truly meet the credit needs of the average Nigerian entrepreneur”
“Accion MfB core values, business philosophy and methodology continue to distinguish it as the leading Microfinance Bank in Nigeria. Their mission is to economically empower micro-entrepreneurs and low- income earners by providing financial services in a sustainable, ethical and profitable manner.
Listed by the London Stock Exchange as one of the Companies to inspire Africa in 2017, Accion Microfinance Bank has won the Lagos State Enterprise (LEAD) award for Best Microfinance Bank in Lagos State multiple times, the EFInA award for the Service Provider that Deepens Financial Inclusion in Nigeria, for its impact on socio-economic development, its contributions to sustainable development, and its commitment to financial inclusion in Nigeria.
In an interview, Acting OPIC President and Chief Executive Officer, Dev Jagadesan said “This loan is part of a long term business partnership between Citi Inclusive Finance, Citi’s specialized unit for microfinance and inclusive finance transactions, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution, to provide financing in local currencies to leading microfinance institutions operating in frontier and emerging markets around the world”.
He said OPIC is committed to helping underserved populations gain access to more finance opportunities and the group recognizes the positive impact that microfinance institutions have on local economies throughout frontier markets.
Jagadesan added that “We are proud to partner with Citi and Accion Microfinance Bank to expand access to financial services in Nigeria.”