Stockholm (NordSIP) – Swedish development financier Swedfund is committing a $10 million investment to Access Bank, one of the leading banks in Nigeria, for loans to companies active in the country’s agricultural sector. The loan is syndicated together with European financiers Norfund, Finnfund, Proparco and FMO, part of a $100 million total effort.
Access Bank is a full services bank with 380 branches throughout Nigeria. It is a leader in sustainability issues with a strong focus on gender equality. For example, it tailors its banking services to female entrepreneurs in order to reduce the financial gap between women and men, and has a leadership programme for its female employees.
“Through this investment in Access Bank, we are able to support the Nigerian agricultural sector,” said Swedfund CEO Gerth Svensson in a press release. “The importance of the sector for the recovery of one of Africa’s most important economies cannot be underestimated. It will be central to job creation and diversifying the country’s oil-dependent economy. This investment is therefore well in line with [Swedfund’s] development mandate.”
Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, is expected to face difficulties in coming years due a necessary switch from an oil-dependent economy following a recession and falling oil prices, despite an estimated growth in GDP of 2.5% in 2017. The agricultural sector will therefore play an important role in the overhaul, as it accounts for over half of Nigeria’s labour force and supplies the majority of its population.
Last week Swedfund made a $15 million loan to Prasac Microfinance, the largest micro finance company in Cambodia.
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