THE African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) on Wednesday, signed a US$150 million loan agreement to finance infrastructure and SME projects, including women-owned enterprises in Nigeria.
According to Kennedy Uzoka, UBA Group Managing Director/CEO, the Fund would support development of productive sectors of the economy; particularly the power sector, infrastructure, women owned enterprises as well as SMEs.
“This line of credit comes at an opportune time and would boost efforts at reducing the huge power sector-financing deficit that is limiting energy supply and complement our support to medium and small scale enterprises while also promoting gender diversification across the value chain,” he said.
By leveraging UBA’s branch network, Kazuhiro Numasawa, Principal Investment Officer of AfDB noted that the line of credit would also scale up lending to SMEs and women enterprises in both urban and rural areas to create more jobs and to promote inclusive growth for Nigeria’s economy by stimulating the various sectors such as manufacturing, construction, agriculture, education and services.
“UBA Nigeria has been the leading financial institution to support various infrastructure projects, particularly power, telecom, transport and also social infrastructure such as hospital and education facilities, and received Social Infrastructure Deal of the Year Award in 2015,” he said while noting that UBA Nigeria operates in each of the country’s 36 states through more than 450 branches supporting 3,700 SMEs across the country.
AfDB has remained UBA’s long-term partner in its financing activities. In 2009, AfDB provided liquidity facilities to deepen its trade finance and other lending activities, thus, contributing to key economic sectors of the Nigerian economy, particularly at a time when the economy requires critical funding to stimulate growth and employment.