• Saturday, June 22, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

BoI partners Ecobank to deliver more support for SMEs

businessday-icon

The Bank of Industry (BoI) has announced partnership with Ecobank with a view to delivering more funding support and services to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The development finance institution announced this partnership on Monday, promising that this would deliver more long-term funding to MSMEs, especially high-impact and export-oriented players.

With this partnership, Ecobank will now be disbursing some of BoI’s high-impact funding schemes to MSMEs, while also contributing to building their capacities.

“This is a framework for jointly delivering our services. From the point of view of BoI, we do mainly long-term financing at highly concessional rates.  Commercial banks do mainly working capital. There is no way we can achieve our entire target when we have 17 offices. So in terms of disbursement, we go through a bank line Ecobank to have wider reach,” said Waheed Olagunju, acting managing director, Bank of Industry, at the MoU signing at the bank’s head office in Lagos.

According to Olagunju, this partnership was meant to jointly support SMEs and finance capacity building programmes, adding that the bank was chosen because it remained one of the SME-friendly and development-focused financial institutions.

“Through this partnership, we will leverage funding from African partners. This gives us more credibility and will help us in the area of integration. A lot of informal trade takes place in the continent and we can formalise it with this partnership. There’s a lot of support we can give in developing the export market,” the BoI MD further said.

“Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) is wide, and we are supporting mainly projects that have export and high-impact focus,” he stated.

Charles Kie, MD/CEO, Ecobank Nigeria, said history had shown that SMEs were not properly served, adding that they needed support to play a key role in achieving  Nigeria’s goal.

“SMEs need a bank that is close to them. We have more than 400 branches across the country. SMEs need platforms to transact, and our mobile platforms, ATMs and other electronic platforms will ensure they have ease of transaction,” Kie said, adding that Ecobank was keen to supporting many MSMEs through this partnership.

Patrick Akinwutan, group executive, consumer banking at Ecobank, said financial inclusion had been at the heart of founders of Ecobank.

Akinwutan said the partnership would ensure financial inclusion, stating that Ecobank had the capacity to deliver on this project as it had branches in 33 countries and had won several awards.

“We are bringing all these linkages into this partnership with BoI. We have a well-known payment platform across our network and have 10,000 agencies. We have developed a research desk that provides up-to0date information on SMEs,” he further said.

ODINAKA ANUDU