French DFI commits $1 billion to critical sectors in Nigeria
A French development finance institution (DFI), Proparco, said it has committed $1 billion across the critical sectors in Nigeria.
Marking 15 years of operations in the country, Proparco has worked with local and pan-African financial institutions, investment funds managers, growth stage companies as well as start-ups in renewable energy, agribusiness and tech space, providing loans and strengthening customers’ financial capacity.
Speaking to The Guardian in Lagos, CEO, Proparco, Françoise Lombard, said the bulk of the commitment is intermediated via banks and investment funds, which finance SMEs and start-ups in key development sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, education, energy and financial services.
Of the €2.3 billion committed globally by Proparco in 2022, Lombard said, 45 per cent was for African businesses, disbursed through Digital Africa, a venture capital platform that focuses on Africa, and Choose Africa.
She added that Choose Africa has committed €3.5 billion in the last five years and supported over 40,000 businesses and hundreds of thousands of micro-entrepreneurs.
“Africa holds the answers to many of the major challenges of the 21st century. Unlocking its entrepreneurial dynamism is at the core of our strategy for the next five years. This is why we aim to concentrate a large share of our resources on the continent. As we mark an important milestone in Nigeria, we are committing to support the African private sector more effectively by enabling entrepreneurs to unleash their potential,” she said.
She said the company intends to support more women-led businesses in the next 12 months and partner with a couple of local institutions such as First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to achieve the goal.
Regional Director, Proparco in Nigeria, Jean Guyonnet-Dupérat, said the group has grown to become one of the prominent partners catalysing growth in finance, tech, energy and climate sectors.
Last year, Proparco and the European Union (EU) supported FCMB, through the financing of a €325,000 technical assistance (TA) programme to develop its non-financial services offer. It was aimed at improving the financial inclusion of local very small and medium enterprises (VSEs) and women entrepreneurs.
It also facilitated a $20 million trade finance guarantee facility for Coronation Merchant Bank (FCMB) as well as making a $5 million equity investment in the Ventures Platform.
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