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– the first initiative under the latter's dedicated Nigeria Private Investment Facility – to support private sector growth in the countryThe United Bank for Africa (UBA) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have agreed a record €60mn ($65mn) lending programme
The new package, which was agreed on the sidelines of the World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington DC by EIB vice-president Ambroise Fayolle, UBA group managing director Kennedy Uzoka and head of global financial institutions Sola Yomi-Ajayi, private sector entrepreneurs and companies will be able to use loans with longer tenures to invest and expand their business operations.
Ambassador Michael Arrion, head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the programme typified the 'catalytic role' played by the EU and institutions such as the EIB in supporting Nigeria's development, a statement read.
"We look forward to more fruitful partnerships with Nigeria, and particularly with the private sector, which remains the engine of economic growth," commented Arrion.
The new loan will also leverage UBA's capital expenditure, helping to strengthen support for private investment by expanding branch networks and improving information technology.
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 to bridge critical financing gaps for Nigerian companies and deepen our capacity to support growth aspirations in the local and international marketplace."
The European Investment Bank has been instrumental in supporting investment and private sector infrastructure in Nigeria since 1978, and has committed €12.8 billion for investment across Africa over the last five years.
Fayolle added, "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."