The European Investment Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA) have agreed a new EUR 60 million lending programme to support private sector investment across Nigeria. This represents the EIB's largest ever loan to UBA and will allow UBA to provide longer term loans than currently available to private companies in Nigeria.
According to a statement from UBA yesterday, the new private sector lending programme was formally agreed on at the just concluded World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington DC.
The Vice President of the European Investment Bank, Ambroise Fayolle and the Group Managing Director, UBA, Kennedy Uzoka, and Head of Global Financial Institutions, UBA, Sola Yomi-Ajayi.
"Private sector investment is crucial for creating jobs and ensuring sustainable economic growth. The European Investment Bank is committed to unlocking investment across Africa and we are pleased to build on past success to strengthen our partnership with UBA that will benefit projects across Nigeria," Fayolle said.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Uzoka said "Our growing partnership with the European Investment Bank underlines our long term objective of facilitating the development and growth of African businesses. This facility will enable UBA bridge critical financing gaps for Nigerian companies and deepen our capacity to support their growth aspirations in the local and international market place."
Also, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Michel Arrion, described the programme as an example of the catalytic role the EU and its institutions like the EIB are playing to support Nigeria's economic development. "We look forward to more fruitful partnerships with Nigeria, and particularly with the private sector, which remains the engine of economic growth."
According to the statement, the deal represents the first Nigerian operation under the European Investment Bank's new dedicated Nigeria Private Enterprise Investment Facility, a wider million lending scheme intended to support private sector investment in the country.
Under the new initiative private sector entrepreneurs and companies will be able to use loans with a longer tenor than traditionally available to invest and expand activities across a range of sectors.
"The new loan will also fund capital expenditure by UBA to strengthen their support for private investment, through expansion of their branch network and improving information technology. The European Investment Bank has supported infrastructure and private sector investment in Nigeria since 1978.
"The European Investment Bank is the world's largest international public bank and over the last five years has provided EUR 12.8 billion for investment across Africa," the statement added.