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The African Development Bank has approved a US$50 million line of credit to Nigeria’s Sterling Bank Plc to support micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) in strategic sectors, including agriculture, renewable energy and social sectors such as health and education.
The facility, approved by the Bank’s Board on Tuesday, seeks to improve the quality of life for Nigeria’s rural population by supporting sectors that directly affect the livelihood of its population. The facility aims to increase access to social infrastructure such as healthcare centers, education centers and clean energy plants and spur economic activities in agriculture-related functions.
It aligns with Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020 (ERPG), which aims to promote macroeconomic stability and improved economic performance. It enhances a transition to Inclusive & Green Growth (TYS) and is equally aligned with the Bank’s Climate Change Action Plan 2016-2020, which encourages climate smart investments and best agriculture practices by smallholder farmers, while empowering socially and economically rural populations.
The seven-year credit facility will improve its long-term liquidity position and meet its clients’ demands for medium-term capital. Co-operatives and women-led SME’s will be the largest beneficiaries, which will also support Sterling’s strong rural coverage and boost its specialization in the “HEART” sectors (Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable energy, and Transportation).
“This line of credit for Sterling Bank is linked to the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) project of the Bank, this is a positive development,” said Catherine Cudre-Mauroux, the Bank’s Executive Director for Germany, Luxemburg, Portugal and Switzerland.
Established in 2015, AFAWA is the Bank’s program for providing available, accessible and affordable financial services to women in business through selected financial institutions
The African Development Bank’s Country Strategy Paper (2013-2017) for Nigeria aims to support the delivery of critical infrastructure development projects, and increasing access to quality, reliable, and affordable financial services to support the transition to green growth.
Sterling Bank Plc has received the Nigeria Agriculture Awards “Bank of the Year for Agriculture” award four years in a row (2014 – 2017), in recognition of its support to actors in the Nigerian agricultural value chain. Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the bank had 2,253 employees (40.3% women), 189 brick-and-mortar branches, 776 ATMs and 9,000 agents across Nigeria, as of December 2017.
The line of credit to the Nigerian financial institution supports the Bank’s High 5 priorities of Improving the Life of the People of Africa, Feed Africa, and Light-Up & Power Africa