The United Bank for Africa and the European Investment Bank are partnering to provide €50 million (N9.9 billion) to support small businesses in Africa. An agreement to this effect was signed between EIB’s Vice President, Pim Van Ballekom, and the Group Managing Director of UBA Group, Phillip Oduoza, in Lagos.
In a statement issued by both the UBA and EIB, it was stated that the ability to access harmonized financial services across borders will also encourage greater regional economic integration on the continent.
“This significant partnership between UBA and the European Investment Bank will benefit small businesses seeking to expand and contribute to strengthening of the financial sector in 16 African countries,” EIB vice president who is responsible for sub-Saharan Africa said.
Philip Oduoza, said that UBA is committed to fostering economic integration on the continent and supporting the development of African businesses. According to him, “The partnership with EIB provides us with an additional source of medium to long term funding and will enhance financial intermediation in key sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure, transport, energy, health, education and, other sectors where long term funding is required.”
This is the first time EIB is providing such facility to a Nigerian bank for on-lending to small and medium sized businesses across borders.
The initiative is targeted at private sector enterprises, including small businesses in post-conflict countries such as Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast and will also be used for expanding and strengthening the under-developed financial sectors of Benin , Chad , Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.