THE African Development Bank (AfDB) said it has provided over $1 billion in interventions to 20,500 micro, small and medium enterprises in Nigeria.
The AfDB president, Akinwunmi Adesina, gave this information on Thursday, November 10, 2022 at the African Small and Medium Enterprise Immersion Fund Roundtable organised by Access Bank Plc in Lagos.
Adesina said the interventions had contributed in no small measure to the creation of over 440,000 jobs in Nigeria, with women and youths accounting for 60 per cent of the beneficiaries.
Adesina, represented by the director-general of the Nigeria Country Department of the AfDB, Lamin Barrow, disclosed that the bank had inaugurated the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa.
“In Nigeria, the bank has eight active LOCs targeting SMEs valued at $1.1 billion. The bank launched the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa as a flagship initiative to close the $42 billion access to finance gap for women-led and owned SMEs. Through AFAWA, the bank will facilitate up to $5 billion in credit access to women SMEs by 2026,” he said.
The AfDB president said MSMEs employed about 77 per cent of the workforce in Nigeria, which he explained was dominated by women who faced greater challenges in accessing affordable finance and non-financial services due to gender biases in property rights limiting their ability to collateralise loans.
He further said the growth of MSMEs had been constrained by many factors, including poor access to affordable finance, perceptions of high default risk due to key man risks, information asymmetries and other challenges related to their informality.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.