The scheme provides banks, private equity investors and other financial institutions a safer platform to increase participation in SME financing by providing foreign guarantees to local credit facilities advanced to SMEs
The Guarantee Trust Bank Plc has launched a N3 billion scheme in partnership with Agence Française de Development to promote Small and Medium Enterprises development in the country.
This was contained in a statement issued by the bank and obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
The statement said the initiative was designed to boost financing for business start-ups and development projects in Nigeria.
“The partnership with GTBank, which is the first in Anglophone Africa, will support the growth of SMEs by providing a risk sharing mechanism on loan advances,” it said.
The scheme provides banks, private equity investors and other financial institutions a safer platform to increase participation in SME financing by providing foreign guarantees to local credit facilities advanced to SMEs.
The Ariz Portfolio Guarantee Scheme, since its inception in 2008, had expanded to over 20 francophone countries in Africa and teamed up with more than 40 partner banks worldwide.
The statement quoted Denys Gauer, the French Ambassador to Nigeria, as saying: “SMEs have a key role as drivers of economic growth and employment.”
Gauer noted that in spite of widespread presence of SMEs in Nigeria, the sector faces major obstacles, including limited access to bank financing, mostly because of the risk factor associated with SMEs.
Gauer said the objective of the scheme was to facilitate SMEs’ access to finance by supporting the development of the GTBank portfolio of SME loans.
Segun Agbaje, GT Bank Managing Director, said empowerment of SMEs remained pivotal to the sustenance of growth and development in emerging economies across the world.
Agbaje said the sector though crucial to the economic make-up of the country, contribute little to the national Gross Domestic Product.
“We are determined to help rewrite this narrative by boosting access to long term financing for the sector,” he said.
He said the bank would continue to provide solutions to help smaller businesses build capacity and improve their knowledge of managing businesses.