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Baobab MFB targets N10bn loan disbursement monthly to customers

Baobab Microfinance Bank to expand operations beyond Nigeria

Baobab Microfinance Bank Nigeria has said it is targeting monthly loan disbursement to customers to the tune of N10 billion monthly in the next two years.

The bank is currently disbursing N5 billion monthly to about 5,000 customers in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sub-sector.

“We are doing a business plan now for the next two years and in two years we want the managing director and his team to do N10 billion,” Phillip Sigwart, group CEO, Baobab Group, said in Lagos.

He said Baobab group is one of the leading microfinance banks on the African continent. In terms of total assets, he said the group is number one on the African continent as the total asset of the group is around $750 million, its micro-loans loan book.

The bank serves half a million active customers on the African continent. He said the group disburses $1 billion as micro-loans to customers every year.

“So we are really by far, one of the biggest players in this segment. We operate in seven countries on the African continent. And of course, one of our flagship operations is here in Nigeria. So we are extremely proud of the development of Baobab Nigeria. And we think that we can achieve a lot more.

The country is huge, he said, adding that a lot of Entrepreneurs still require financial services. A lot of Entrepreneurs would like to take loans to develop their business activities. “We are here to serve these entrepreneurs. There is a very strong demand. The demand is extremely strong. We are one of the few players which really focus on serving very small entrepreneurs,” Sigwart said.

“Nigeria is such a big market. We are not yet number one, but eventually we will, we will get there. We have great ambitions regarding Nigeria. I am also very optimistic about Nigeria. Of course, we know that there have been some challenges recently, especially regarding the economy, inflation, exchange rate, and all of that, but fundamentally, I am very optimistic about Nigeria,” he said.

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The Baobab group in general is present in seven countries on the African continent. The focus is mostly Francophone Africa, plus Nigeria.

“Why in Nigeria? Simply because it is the biggest, it is the biggest country in terms of population on the African continent. So that is why we wanted to be here. And that is why I also see so much potential, but for the other operations, it is mostly Francophone Africa. So we are present in Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, in Congo DRC and in Madagascar,” he said.

Speaking on Nigerian operations, Kazeem Olarenwaju managing director/CEO Baobab Nigeria, said, the bank is already in nine States and would get to 12 States by next year.

“The idea is to touch as many states as possible. It is also very important to say that even when we cannot reach today, we have planned to be able to reach there by agency banking and by digital channels across the country, some of which should be coming up next year. Already we have the Baobab app, which is doing a lot of wonders in the market, enabling customers to do transactions seamlessly without actually coming to the bank. We also partner with some agency networks in the country to be able to render service to those remote areas and this is going to continue in the years ahead,” he said.

He said the banks disbursed close to N5 billion loans to about 5,000 customers in Nigeria every month. On a year-on-year basis, the bank disburses N60 billion to 60,000 customers, Olarenwaju noted, adding that “we expect that by next year, it is going to go up.”