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Fidelity Bank sets aside $30m for women entrepreneurs

Fidelity Bank plc has set aside $30 million out of the $50 million it recently signed with African Development Bank (AfDB), for Nigerian women entrepreneurs.

AfDB last week sealed a $50 million financing deal with Fidelity Bank, for on-lending to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

“When you get a facility like the $50 million and $30 million is set aside just for women entrepreneurs, it is another step by Fidelity bank to continue to ensure gender balance”, Nnamdi Okonkwo, managing director/CEO, told journalists at Balogun Business Association Plaza, Lagos Trade fair complex.

He noted there is huge number of such entrepreneurs in the market. “So it is more than just a coincidence that we are here today to connect to our customers and know how we can serve them better”.

Fidelity bank, he said does not only serve the corporate end of the market, but also serve the middle and the lower class of the market.

The bank is very strong in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and has disbursed over N3 billion accessed from the N220 billion MSME development fund, to the sub-sector. The fund is an intervention by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Most of these people here are SMEs. They are the engine hub of trade and commerce in this country and in line with our customer forum calendar we do this occasionally, we come out here, for instance, today they are doing their quarterly meeting and we are just here to interact with them”.

Okonkwo said the bank is a heavy player in various single digit onlending facilities, including the agric intervention funds among others, adding that the Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio in this regard has been very negligible.

“We are strong partners to Bank of Industry (BOI) to support the real sector, and manufacturing in different kinds of production. So we are not just dealing with AfDB alone. Indeed we strongly believe that it is our track record in partnering with other developmental institutions that convinced the AfDB that we are good partners to deal with in this case”, he said.

Speaking further, he said, “we have a clear five year strategic plan. Everything you see us do is in line with our strategic plan. So whatever we do to support SMEs is deliberate, pre-planned and we are not copying anybody. We are focused with our plans”.

Responding, Okey Ezibe, founding president, Balogun Business Association, said, “we want to say a big thank you. We started with Fidelity and we will end with Fidelity. When this project as conceived, Fidelity was the first bank to come to our aid. We were offered N1 billion take off. They were the first to sow seed money. They have been very supportive from day one and we will not let them down. We are all in business to make money and we will partner to make Fidelity grow while we grow ourselves”.

 

HOPE MOSES-ASHIKE

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