First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its partnership with CDC Group, the UK government’s development finance institution on a $100 million finance facility to FirstBank.
This new investment will direct funding to women-owned and led businesses as well as to local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
The deal will support FirstBank to deliver financial solutions that help to address the challenge of limited access to capital faced by underbanked and underserved groups in the country.
As part of the new investment, a minimum of $30 million will be allocated in the form of credit lines to women entrepreneurs. The facility will also support FirstBank’s ‘FirstGem’ gender-focused services offering, which takes steps to promote gender inclusion by improving lending and support to female clients.
The new partnership between CDC, which will be renamed British International Investment in April, and FirstBank demonstrates a shared mission to spur sustainable, productive and inclusive growth in Nigeria.
CDC’s commitment will facilitate an expanded offer by FirstBank to its clientele, which will accelerate financial inclusion and increase opportunities for marginalized groups, including an estimated 59 million unbanked Nigerians, to participate in the country’s formal economy.
As such, the partnership will capitalize on the FirstBank’s expansive network of over 700 branches, leveraging its market leading expertise to scale financial solutions to underbanked entrepreneurs and populations.
In addition, CDC/BII will support FirstBank with a technical assistance programme which will build on the Bank’s knowledge base of the women-led and -owned businesses in its portfolio, strengthening the Bank’s technical capabilities and ability to reinforce its commitment to gender-based initiatives.
This will enable the Bank to further leverage the Facility to provide vital funding to scale business growth across Nigeria’s market – increasing job creation and improving livelihoods throughout the country.
Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of CDC Group, said the partnership demonstrates a deepening of British partnership with Nigeria’s businesses, as they collaborate to unlock the potential for entrepreneurial success and economic growth across the country.
Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank said: Beyond the mutual benefits this partnership offers to both organisations, it is also an opportunity to contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth of Nigeria. At FirstBank, financial inclusion is material to us and we remain committed to enabling SMEs; leveraging our heritage of over 127 years with experience and continuous reinvention to empower women-owned and women-led businesses.