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Fidelity Bank Plc and AfDB are partnering to fund MSMEs with $50m

In a bid to fund/promote the growth of MSMEs in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank Plc and African Development Bank (AfDB), have signed a $50 million financing agreement.

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CBN / Fidelity Bank Plc,

In a bid to fund/promote the growth of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank Plc and African Development Bank (AfDB), have signed a $50 million financing agreement.

During the official signing event in Abuja, yesterday, the Senior Director/Country Representative at AfDB, Ebrima Faal, signed the agreement on behalf of the DFI while Deputy Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mohammed Balarabe, signed on behalf of the commercial bank.

How the funds will be used: AfDB then used the occasion to disclose that at least 30 percent of the fund must go into promoting businesses that are owned and operated by women entrepreneurs.

“We are excited about this partnership. The lines of credit tended to be general support for SMEs. This one has a strong emphasis on gender. It can be considered as a vanguard credit for us.

“Our main focus is to reach out to SMEs to give the much-needed impact. We count on you to ensure that the requirement for loan disbursement is okay to enable it to reach out to the target audience.”-Faal

Balarabe, on the other hand, argued that businesses at the lower level have the capacity to catalyse the development of the economy, adding that the funding was unique because of the gender specification.

“The AfDB has found us fitting to be one of the banks that will be benefiting for onward lending to MSMEs. Fidelity is one of the leading lenders to the segment, but for us, it’s not all about lending.

“Our engagement with MSMEs is more. We take time to find the needs of such businesses, and work with them on how to run the businesses.” -Balarabe

Why adequate funding of MSMEs is highly sacrosanct: The role of SMEs in enhancing economic growth and development has, overtime, been widely acknowledged globally. Economic wealth all over the world is created through enterprises and the expansion of their output.

SMEs contribute to the economy by creating value through the production of goods and services, thus enhancing the gross domestic product. They also generate employment by creating much-needed jobs in the economy, as well as expanding the export sector largely through linkages with large firms that produce for the foreign sector.

Lack of adequate funding has been one of the major challenges facing Nigerian SMEs. For a long time, entrepreneurs have lamented the the lack of adequate provision of credit facilities. It is, therefore, a good thing that something is finally being done about the situation.

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Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ).Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.

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    Business News

    CAC sets 3-hour time line for company registration in 2021

    The CAC is prioritising the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just 3 hours before the end of the year 2021.

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    CAC, Corporate Affairs Commission selects NIPOST as official courier partner

    The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has said that following the successful deployment of an end-to-end registration module, it was now prioritising the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just 3 hours before the end of the year 2021.

    This is coming after CAC had in November 2020, announced the implementation of new technology that will change the face of business registration including allowing customers to print their certificates with verifiable QR code from anywhere in the world.

    This disclosure was made by the Registrar-General of the commission, Garba Abubakar, at a dinner in honour of the Chairman, Governing Board, CAC and Nigerian Ambassador-Designate to the Kingdom of Spain, Ademola Seriki.

    In order to achieve this target, the Registrar-General said the commission was making arrangements to empower over 400 approving officers with working tools to process and approve registration applications either from home or anywhere necessary,” the agency stated.

    Abubakar noted that the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic had adversely hampered CAC’s delivery timeline.

    He, however, pointed out that CAC was resolutely committed to serving its customers despite being forced to operate with less than 50% of its workforce.

    While bidding farewell to Seriki, the Registrar-General said he received the news of his appointment with mixed feelings as CAC was going to miss his tremendous support and guidance.

    Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, described the outgoing CAC Chairman as a man of immense pedigree and endowed with enormous potential to justify the confidence reposed in him by the president.

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    In case you missed it

    • The CAC recently announced the upgrade of its website and online registration portal to include features, which allow for the automation of some selected services and processes, in line with the Federal Government’s mandate of improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
    • The selected services and processes include Electronic search of company records, Upgraded Companies Registration Portal for Pre-incorporation filings and Post incorporation filings.

     

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    Corporate deals

    DEAL: Nigerian fintech software provider, Appzone raises $10m to scale its products and services

    Appzone platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance banks in Africa.

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    Appzone a fintech software provider that builds proprietary solutions for financial institutions and their banking and payments services announced that it has closed $10 million in Series A investment.

    The Series A round was led by CardinalStone Capital Advisers, a Lagos-based investment firm. Other investors include V8 Capital, Constant Capital, and Itanna Capital Ventures. New York-based but Africa-focused firm Lateral Investment Partners also participated.

    Founded in 2008 by Emeka Emetarom, Obi Emetarom, and Wale Onawunmi, Appzone functions as an enabler (at payment rails and the core infrastructure) within banking and payments.

    READ: Shola Akinlade: The inspiration behind Paystack’s success

    Appzone platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance banks in Africa. Together, they amass a yearly transaction value and yearly loan disbursement of $2 billion and $300million.

    Before now, Appzone closed a $2 million deal from South African Business Connexion (BCX) in 2014. Four years later, it raised $2.5 million in convertible debt and bought back shares from BCX in the process. But overall, the company says it has raised $15 million in equity funding.

    This new funding will be used to scale its products and services and expand across more African countries. The startup also plans to achieve scale by growing its engineering team.

    READ: From Chemist to Bank CEO – The Story of Uzoma Dozie

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    What they are saying

    Yomi Jemibewon, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Cardinal Stone Capital Advisers, said the firm’s investment in Appzone is further proof of Africa’s potential as the future hub of world-class technology.

    READ: Bill Gates holds far more cash than Nigeria’s foreign reserve

    Appzone is building a disruptive fintech ecosystem that will be the backbone of Africa’s finance industry with products across payments, infrastructure, and software as a service. The impact of Appzone’s work is multifold — the company’s products deepen financial inclusion across the continent whilst providing best-fit and low-cost solutions to financial institutions. Its emphasis on premium talent also helps stem brain drain, rewarding Africa’s best brains with best-in-class employment opportunities.”

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