The European Investment Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA) have agreed to a new €60 million lending programme to support private sector-driven growth across Nigeria.
The deal is said to represent the EIB’s largest loan to UBA, and will allow UBA provide longer-term loans than currently available, to private companies in the country.
The new private sector lending programme was formally agreed on the sidelines of the World Bank Annual/IMF meetings in Washington DC.
Ambroise Fayolle, vice president of the European Investment Bank; Kennedy Uzoka, UBA group managing director; and Sola Yomi-Ajayi, head of global financial institutions at UBA, sealed the deal.
“Private sector investment is crucial for creating jobs and ensuring sustainable economic growth,” Fayolle said, while sealing the deal.
“The European Investment Bank is committed to unlocking investment across Africa and we are pleased to build on past success to strengthen our partnership with UBA that will benefit projects across Nigeria.”
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Uzoka said: “Our growing partnership with the European Investment Bank underlines our long-term objective of facilitating the development and growth of African businesses.
“This facility will enable UBA bridge critical financing gaps for Nigerian companies and deepen our capacity to support their growth aspirations in the local and international market place.”
Michel Arrion, head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, described the programme as an example of the catalytic role the EU and its institutions, such as the EIB, are playing to support Nigeria’s economic development.
“We look forward to more fruitful partnerships with Nigeria, and particularly with the private sector, which remains the engine of economic growth,” Arrion said.
This represents the first Nigerian operation under the European Investment Bank’s new dedicated Nigeria Private Enterprise Investment Facility, a wider million lending scheme intended to support private sector investment in the country.
Under the new initiative, private sector entrepreneurs and companies will be able to use loans with a longer tenor than traditionally available, to invest and expand activities across a range of sectors.
The new loan will also fund capital expenditure by UBA to strengthen their support for private investment, through expansion of their branch network and improving information technology.
The European Investment Bank has supported infrastructure and private sector investment in Nigeria since 1978. It is the world’s largest international public bank; and over the last five years, it has provided €12.8 billion for investment across Africa.