Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank has extended its footprint to Lagos, as it opened its first branch in the commercial hub of Nigeria.
This move, according to the Managing Director of the bank, Guillaume Valence, is to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and ensure more Nigerians benefit from its financial products.
Speaking on the expansion, Valence said, “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are the major contributors to growth and economic development as well as the first employer in Nigeria. However, they still lack both the necessary business and financial support to develop their activities. By supporting this population, Advans-La Fayette MFB is contributing to the national objective to reduce financial exclusion rate to 20% by 2020.”
What you should know: SMEs are the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, constituting over 90 per cent of all the businesses in the country. It is said to employ between 60 to 70 per cent of the national workforce while contributing approximately 50 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Why this matters: The major impediment to the growth of SMEs in Nigeria remains lack of access to finance. For this reason, quite a number of such ventures have closed shop while several others are struggling for survival.
During the Fifth edition of the Refined Economic Development (RED) quarterly lecture held at the University of Abuja, Chief Economist, Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), Prof. Joseph Nnanna, said, “In 2018, 22.74 percent of total credit was allocated to the oil and gas sector and 13.75 percent was allocated to the manufacturing sector. Conversely, sectors where the MSME participants operate include agriculture where total credit allocated was a paltry 3.16 percent, general/trade and commerce 6.89 percent and education which credit to this sector remains subdued, received 0.41 percent (NBS, 2018).”
About La Fayette: As a member of the Advans Group, La Fayette was licenced as a financial institution by CBN in 2012 and started offering a complete range of financial services and means of payment for its customers including savings accounts, current accounts, and fixed deposit accounts.