By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Private companies in Nigeria seeking to grow their businesses can now have somewhere to run to for assistance.
This is because the European Investment Bank (UBA) and United Bank for Africa (UBA) have agreed a new €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.
The new private sector lending programme was formally agreed on the side-lines of the World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington DC by Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of the European Investment Bank and Kennedy Uzoka, Group Managing Director of UBA and Sola Yomi-Ajayi, Head of Global Financial Institutions at UBA.
“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,” said Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of EIB.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr 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.”
Ambassador Michel Arrion, Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, 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”.
This 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 European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.
UBA Plc is one of Africa’s leading financial institutions, with operations in 19 African countries and three global financial centres: London, Paris and New York.
From a single country operation in Nigeria, UBA has evolved into a Pan-African of banking and related financial services to more than 11 million customers through diverse channels globally.