Access Bank loan supports creation of new jobs with strong emphasize on environmental and social safeguards
Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO is pleased to announce the signing of a USD 10mln senior unsecured loan with Access Bank in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This funding facilitates the finance of Access Bank’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) portfolio in the DRC. The project has a strong emphasize on social and environmental safeguards, particularly on potential human rights impacts. Access Bank and FMO have been working together to implement sustainable business practices across Africa since 2002.
This is FMO’s first investment in the country’s financial sector and was carried out after extensive research and careful client selection.
The transaction is in line with Goals 8 and 10 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focused on Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Reducing Inequalities. It will support economic development in the DRC, where the majority of the population is unbanked and financial markets are underserved by foreign capital. Promoting loans to SME clients and providing them with access to capital will empower local entrepreneurs and support job creation.
The loan will be allocated in two tranches of USD 5mln. FMO’s financing package is partially funded by the Dutch government’s MASSIF fund, which aims to take the early investment risks and act as a catalyst for the growth of the private financial sector while stimulating financial inclusion in developing countries with a focus on fragile states.
JOINT COMMITMENT TO THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
Access Bank is part of a pan-African financial group listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. It strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible, and socially relevant. FMO and Access Bank have a partnership in Nigeria and Ghana extending back almost two decades.
“A long-standing partner, Access Bank is a pioneering institution and shares our commitment to explore and develop new market segments, as well as new markets on the African continent. Together we have executed a long series of transaction and focussed on advancing ESG standards and access to finance for underserved parts of population through, for example, dedicated farmer and gender finance programs,” said Huib-Jan de Ruijter, Director Financial Institutions at FMO.
Speaking on the partnership, CEO, Access Bank Plc., Herbert Wigwe said: "Over the years, Access Bank has partnered with FMO to successfully deliver strategic financing for various segments across several regions. As one of the first major investments in Congo’s financial sector, this loan facility supports Access Bank’s effort to improve financing for the SME segment which indeed holds high potential for the enhanced growth of the country’s economy. As a Bank with demonstrable commitment to sustainable development, we are truly pleased to be partners in this significant deal.”
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL REQUIREMENTS
FMO and Access Bank have given careful consideration to the complex operating environment and country risks in the DRC, which stem from its recent history of conflicts. Access Bank has a leading role in Africa on environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics and, over the years, has received various awards and recognitions for its sustainable banking approach. Extensive due diligence was conducted prior to approval of the deal, with a strong focus on human rights impacts, by Environmental & Social Officers both from FMO and Access Bank Nigeria. Additionally, an external human rights consultant was engaged in this process.
“FMO invests in entrepreneurs who do not have access to commercial finance working in the world’s most challenging markets. Like us, Access Bank is a learning institution and has demonstrated their commitment to the environmental and social program that is part of this loan facility,” said De Ruijter. “Access Bank has a leading role in Africa on ESG topics, and we expect that with this new step we can support sustainable growth in the DRC.”
Through its continued partnership with Access Bank, FMO will support the organization in development and implementation of a well-functioning Environmental and Social Management System – a set of policies, procedures, and tools to help manage the bank’s exposure to the environmental and social risks of its clients as well as take any corrective actions needed.
FMO is the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank. As a leading impact investor, FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing countries and emerging markets by investing in ambitious projects and entrepreneurs. FMO believes that a strong private sector leads to economic and social development and has a close to 50-year proven track-record of empowering people to employ their skills and improve their quality of life. FMO focuses on three sectors that have high development impact: financial institutions, energy, and agribusiness, food & water. With a committed portfolio of EUR 9.7 billion spanning over 85 countries, FMO is one of the larger bilateral private sector developments banks globally. For more information: please visit www.fmo.nl
About Access Bank
Access Bank Plc. is a leading full-service commercial Bank operating through a network of more than 600 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 12 countries and 31 million customers. The Bank employs 28,000 people in its operations in Nigeria and has subsidiaries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom (with a branch in Dubai, UAE) and representative offices in China, Lebanon and India.
Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange since 1998, Access Bank serves its various markets through four business segments: Retail, Business, Commercial and Corporate. The Bank has over 900,000 shareholders (including several Nigerian and International Institutional Investors) and has enjoyed what is arguably Africa's most successful banking growth trajectory in the past few years. Following its merger with Diamond Bank in March 2019, Access Bank became one of Africa’s largest retail banks by retail customer base.
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