CDC/BII partners with FirstBank to support women and small business owners with a US$100m credit facility

23 Feb 2022

  • Facility to strengthen FirstBank’s commitment to gender financing with US$30 million targeted to women-owned and led businesses
  • Partnership will enhance funding to local SMEs to boost growth and promote financial and social inclusion across Nigeria
  • The facility adds US$100 million to CDC/BII’s contribution to the 2X Challenge

Lagos - 21 February 2022 - CDC Group, the UK Government's development finance institution, announced today a US$100 million finance facility to First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank). This new facility will direct funding to women-owned and led businesses as well as to local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.

The deal will support FirstBank, one of Nigeria’s largest banking groups, to deliver financial solutions that help to address the challenge of limited access to capital faced by underbanked and underserved groups in the country. As part of the new facility, a minimum of US$30 million will be allocated in the form of credit lines to women entrepreneurs. The facility will also support FirstBank’s ‘FirstGem’ gender-focused services offering, which takes steps to promote gender inclusion by improving lending and support to female entrepreneurs.

The new partnership between CDC, which will be renamed British International Investment in April, and FirstBank demonstrates a shared mission to spur sustainable, productive and inclusive growth in Nigeria. 

CDC’s commitment will facilitate an expanded offer by FirstBank to its clientele, which will accelerate financial inclusion and increase opportunities for marginalised groups, including an estimated 59 million unbanked Nigerians, to participate in the country’s formal economy. As such, the partnership will capitalise on the FirstBank’s expansive network of over 700 branches and 150,000+ agents, leveraging its market leading expertise to scale financial solutions to underbanked entrepreneurs and populations. 

In addition, CDC/BII will support FirstBank with a technical assistance programme which will build on the Bank's knowledge base of the women-led and women-owned businesses in its portfolio, strengthening the Bank’s technical capabilities and ability to reinforce its commitment to gender-based initiatives. This will enable the Bank to further leverage the facility to provide vital funding to scale business growth across Nigeria’s market – increasing job creation and improving livelihoods throughout the country.

The facility’s target to increase financial inclusion and opportunities for women, qualifies this facility under the 2x Challenge – a commitment by the development finance institutions (DFIs) of the G7 to mobilise capital to support increased economic empowerment for women in emerging economies. Moreover, the US$100 million commitment aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 Gender Equality and Goal 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of CDC Group, said: "Promoting financial inclusion is a key component for advancing sweeping productive and sustainable growth across both rural and urban areas in Nigeria. This facility will channel CDC’s flexible and long-term capital toward expanding the financial solutions made available to women entrepreneurs, who are often the drivers of small business ideas and services to their communities.   

“Our commitment demonstrates a deepening of British partnership with Nigeria’s businesses, as we collaborate to unlock the potential for entrepreneurial success and economic growth across the country.”

Adesola Adeduntan, Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank said: “Beyond the mutual benefits this partnership offers to both organisations, this transaction offers yet, another occasion for FirstBank to contribute immensely, to the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals.

“Enabling financial inclusion for SMEs has been a strategic priority for FirstBank over the last 128 years.  Similarly, FirstBank has been at the forefront of financially empowering women-owned and women-led businesses on the continent.  This partnership with CDC/BII offers a fantastic opportunity to accelerate the momentum.

“At FirstBank, we remain ever committed to fostering financial inclusion, creating wealth for the underserved, enhancing access to quality education and health care, improving lives and empowering women.”

 - ENDS - 

About CDC/BII  

1. CDC will formally become British International Investment plc on 4 April 2022. 

2. British International Investment is a reliable and trusted investment partner to businesses in Africa, parts of Asia and the Caribbean. It will commit between £1.5 and £2 billion per annum between 2022 and 2026 to support the UK government’s Clean Green Initiative and to create productive, sustainable and inclusive economies in Africa, parts of Asia and the Caribbean.

3. British International Investment plays a key role in the UK government’s wider plans to mobilise up to £8 billion a year of public and private sector investment in international projects by 2025.   

4. Over the next five years, at least 30 per cent of BII’s total new commitments by value will be in climate finance. This will make us one of the world’s largest climate investors in Africa.

5. BII is also a founding member of the 2X challenge which has raised US$10bn to empower women’s economic development.   

6. The company has investments in over 1,000 businesses in emerging economies and total assets of £6.8 billion.

About First Bank of Nigeria

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for 128 years.

With over 750 business locations and over 150,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to over 30 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBNBank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.

The Bank has promoted digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the only bank to achieve this milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to more than 10million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code and over 4.5 million people on FirstMobile platform.

Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy, and played key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner. 

For additional information, please contact:

CDC Group: Andrew Murray-Watson | M: +44 7515 695232 | E: amurray-watson@cdcgroup.com  

First Bank of Nigeria Limited: Folake Ani-Mumuney | E: Folake.Ani-Mumuney@firstbanknigeria.com

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