By Fortune Abang
Abuja – Proparco and First City Monument Bank (FCMB) have signed a N2 billion risk-sharing facility agreement to promote the growth of Micro, Small, and Medium-Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
According to statement by Claude Abily, Political Counsellor of the French Embassy in Nigeria, MSMEs represent 96 per cent of all businesses in Nigeria and attest to their strategic role in the development of the Nigerian economy.
“The agreement covers up to N2 billion worth of loans granted by FCMB to MSMEs, representing 96 per cent of all businesses in Nigeria and testifying to their critical role for the economy.
“However, most SMEs still lack access to appropriate sources of financing needed to develop their activity.
“FCMB was created in 1982 and currently ranks among Nigeria’s top ten banks and has its growth strategy of supporting SMEs through tailored products and services to entrepreneurs.
“Proparco’s support will help FCMB extend its financing to a greater number of SMEs in Nigeria.
“It is estimated that this risk-sharing facility agreement could support close to 245 MSMEs in the country and contribute to creating or maintaining more than 440 jobs,” Abily said.
According to Abily, the agreement between Proparco and FCMB is the second since 2012, when it granted a loan of 25 million dollars to the Nigerian bank, to support lending activity to the infrastructure sector.
“This project contributes to the French initiative `Choose Africa’, which was launched by AFD Group in 2019, with ambitions to dedicate €2.5 billion and accelerate growth of MSMEs in Africa by 2022,” he said.
The political counsellor said that Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD), was into projects development with focus on renewable energies, agribusiness, financial institutions, healthcare, and education with a view to strengthening the contribution of the private sector to achieving the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Toward that end also, Proparco is focused on funding and provision of support to both businesses and financial institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle-East.