Access Bank Plc, EIB Partner To Empower SMEs, Women Through €50 Million Facility
- Deal to provide access to finance for SMEs as an effective means to foster economic diversification and inclusive growth.
- At least 30% of funding will support women-led, women-owned businesses or businesses offering a service or product disproportionally benefiting women.
- The deal supports Nigeria’s national action plan, which targets the empowerment of young people and women in alignment with the EU’s 2021-2027 Nigeria Multi-Annual Indicative Program (MIP).
Access Bank Plc and the European Investment Bank (EIB), on Thursday, signed a memorandum of understanding, to deploy the long-term financing of 50 million euros, aimed at boosting the financial inclusion of young people and women in Nigeria.
Held with support from the European Union, the execution will contribute to the progress made towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal number 5, which targets gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls.
Speaking on Access Bank’s longstanding partnership with the EIB and commitment to sustainable finance, Roosevelt Ogbonna, Group Managing Director, and Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc said:
“Our collaboration with the European Investment Bank underscores our unwavering commitment to fostering job growth, promoting gender equality, and championing sustainable business practices across all our countries of operation. At Access Bank, we believe in the potential of women as drivers of economic growth, and this partnership reinforces our dedication to that cause. By providing critical financial resources to female entrepreneurs and managers, we aim to not only expand businesses but also uplift livelihoods and drive economic development in Nigeria.
“As we work towards achieving the national and global development goals, this credit facility exemplifies the shared vision of Access Bank and EIB for a more inclusive and prosperous continent. We look forward to the positive impact this partnership will have on the lives of Nigerian women and the broader economy.”
The funds will be mobilised by Access Bank to finance eligible investments made by SMEs and mid-caps in sectors such as transport, agriculture value-chain, manufacturing, tourism, and services. It will also be targeting businesses owned, run, employing, or primarily serving women, in accordance with the “2X Challenge” initiative, whose criteria are aligned with the OECD gender objectives.
“Since inception, the goal of the “W” Initiative has been to inspire, connect, and empower women with sustainable tools to access true financial inclusion and growth. This is why we are excited about the potential of this agreement with the EIB, as it is a powerful instrument to support women in realising their dreams and aspirations. By providing increased access to funding, we are fostering economic growth and strengthening the foundation of gender equality in Nigeria,” Abiodun Olubitan, Group Head, Women Banking, Access Bank Plc added.
This execution is testament to Access Bank’s pledge to drive sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible, and socially relevant, while helping customers to access more and achieve their dreams. Over the past 17 years, the Bank has consistently demonstrated its commitment to gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, expending over ₦246.46 billion in financing for 3,145,319 women.
About Access Bank PLC
Access Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Access Holdings Plc, is a leading full-service commercial bank operating through a network of more than 700 branches and service outlets spanning 3 continents, 20 countries and over 60 million customers. The Bank employs over 28,000 thousand people in its operations in Africa and Europe, with representative offices in China, Lebanon, India, and the UAE.
Access Bank’s parent company, Access Holdings Plc, has been listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange since 1998. The Bank is a diversified financial institution which combines a strong retail customer franchise and digital platform with deep corporate banking expertise, proven risk management and capital management capabilities. The Bank services its various markets through four business segments: Corporate and Investment Banking; Commercial Banking; Business Banking, and Personal & Private Banking. The Bank has enjoyed what is arguably Africa’s most successful banking growth trajectory in the last 18 years, becoming one of the continent’s largest retail banks.
As part of its continued growth strategy, Access Bank is focused on mainstreaming sustainable business practices into its operations. The Bank strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible, and socially relevant, helping customers to access more and achieve their dreams.