IFC Partners Union Bank Of Nigeria To Support Trade, SMEs

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To boost access to finance for smaller businesses in Nigeria and to support increased trade, IFC today announced a partnership with Union Bank of Nigeria Plc to help the bank expand lending to hundreds of businesses operating in critical sectors in the country, including food, healthcare, manufacturing, and services.

L-R: Babatunde Obaniyi, Business Lead, Financial Institutions Group, Anglophone West & Central Africa, IFC; Gokhan Kont, New Business Manager, Financial Institutions Group, Nigeria, Eastern & Southern Africa, IFC; Mudassir Amray MD/CEO, Union Bank; Aliou Maiga, Regional Industry Director, Financial Institutions Group in Africa, IFC; Nneamaka Obiekwe, Relationship Manager, Treasury, Union Bank; and Joe Mbulu, Chief Financial Officer, Union Bank, during a recent working capital facility signing between IFC and Union Bank to support trade and SMEs in Lagos

IFC’s $30 million loan will allow Union Bank to increase trade financing and working capital lending to Nigerian businesses, including those whose cashflows have been strained by recent disruptions in global and local markets.

“As a bank, we are deeply committed to enabling success for SMEs. We understand the critical role of small businesses in leading Nigeria’s economy towards growth. This funding from IFC will enable us to extend financial relief to our customers during this difficult time. I am confident that the funds will help these businesses harness opportunities, and preserve jobs,” said Mudassir Amray, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank.

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“Strengthening supply chains and trade flows through working capital financing sets the stage for faster growth and economic diversification in Nigeria. IFC’s partnership with Union Bank is part of a wider strategy to ensure the flow of goods and services are sustained despite global trade disruptions,” said Kalim M. Shah, IFC Senior Country Manager for Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The loan facility to Union Bank is being made through IFC’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Working Capital Solutions Envelope, which was launched in 2020 to provide funding to existing IFC clients in emerging markets that will then extend new loans to companies affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Recent disruptions to the global economy following COVID-19, including from rising inflation and limited access to finance, have left many businesses in Nigeria, particularly SMEs, struggling with supply chain shortages, increased cost of doing business and limited trade growth.

The partnership with Union Bank underscores IFC’s commitment to supporting smaller businesses in Nigeria, helping them preserve and create jobs, and access critical inputs.

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The loan announced today is supported by the blended finance facility of the International Development Association’s Private Sector Window, which mitigates the financial risks associated with investments in sectors like SMEs and agribusiness.

IFC has an active investment portfolio of $2.3 billion in Nigeria – the second largest in Africa after South Africa – across sectors including agribusiness, healthcare, manufacturing, infrastructure, technology, and financial services.

For those who don’t know, IFC is a member of the World Bank Group, it is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries.

In fiscal year 2022, IFC committed a record $32.8 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of global compounding crises. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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About the IDA Private Sector Window
The International Development Association’s (IDA) Private Sector Window was launched in 2017 to catalyze private sector investment in the poorest and most fragile countries.

Recognizing the key role of the private sector in achieving IDA’s objectives and the World Bank Group’s twin goals, the window provides a source of co-investment funding and guarantees to de-risk private investments supported by IFC and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

The IDA PSW is an option when there is no commercial solution, and the World Bank Group’s other tools and approaches are insufficient. For more information, visit: http://ida.worldbank.org/psw

It is interesting to know that Union Bank of Nigeria was established in 1917 and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1971, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. is a household name and one of Nigeria’s long-standing and most respected financial institutions. The Bank is a trusted and recognisable brand, with an extensive network of over 250 branches across Nigeria.

The Bank currently offers a variety of banking services to both individual and corporate clients including current, savings and deposit account services, funds transfer, foreign currency domiciliation, loans, overdrafts, equipment leasing and trade finance.

The Bank also offers its customers convenient electronic banking channels and products including Online Banking, Mobile Banking, USSD banking, Debit Cards, ATMs, and POS Systems. More information can be found at: www.unionbankng.com

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