Wema Bank Plc said it has secured $35 million facilities from two international lenders to grow financial support to small and medium-scale enterprises, SMEs in Nigeria.
In a statement, the bank said it signed a $15 million Line of Credit agreement with African Development Bank, AfDB which has already been disbursed, while it also secured a $20 million LOC from the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, ICD.
Managing Director of Wema Bank, Segun Oloketuyi, said the funds will help bolster the bank’s vision of building a sustainable retail sector by supporting micro, small and medium scale enterprises, MSMEs.
“We believe efforts like this, ultimately helps to create jobs, accelerate industrialisation, redistribute wealth and fight poverty,” Oloketuyi said. He added that Wema Bank, through its newly-launched ALAT, acclaimed as the first fully digital bank in Africa, will deploy the line of credit towards bolstering funding for SMEs in Nigeria.
Mohammed Al Ammari, Acting CEO and General Manager of ICD, confirmed his excitement about the partnership, adding that it will further deepen its footprint in Africa, where a significant portion of its investment portfolio is domiciled.
“ICD’s line of investment portfolio has been heavily concentrated in Africa over the years, seeking opportunities to grow funding for SMEs and provide economic-stimulating investments within the region,” he stated.
Research has shown that SMEs are one of the greatest contributors to economic growth worldwide, contributing over 55 percent of GDP and over 65 percent of total employment in high-income countries. Also, SMEs account for over 60 percent of GDP and over 70 percent of total employment in low-income countries, while they contribute over 95 percent of total employment and about 70 percent of GDP in middle-income countries.