IFC invests $100 million in Zenith Bank to support SMEs | Ripples Nigeria
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IFC invests $100 million in Zenith Bank to support SMEs

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The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, Thursday announced an investment in the sum of $100 million in Zenith Bank Plc to ramp up support to clients and firms whose cash flows had been disrupted by challenges induced by the coronavirus outbreak.

IFC’s loan to Zenith Bank is its first investment on the African continent via its COVID-19 fast-tracking financing support package. The capital will enable Zenith Bank, an existing IFC client and Africa’s sixth biggest bank, tackle the challenges stemming from current, limited access to foreign currency, working capital and trading funding.

Zenith Bank will support a great many businesses in the country’s food, trading, health and pharmaceutical sectors, enabling them to firm up operations, maintain employment and access critical import of goods, raw materials and commodities during the current austerity.

“IFC’s support is essential and will help us respond to challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will allow us to support compelling export initiatives and trade financing for critical goods and materials, especially for the medical and pharmaceuticals sectors. Our partnership with IFC is strong and we are committed to its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) requirements,” said Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank.

READ ALSO: Zenith Bank posts N208.6bn full year profit, declares N2.50 final dividend

The IFC loan constitutes part of its $8 billion global fast-tracking financing package announced in March to help business activities and preserve jobs amidst the coronavirus crisis.

Eme Essien Lore, IFC Country Manager in Nigeria said IFC’s support for Nigeria’s banking sector will help keep the wheels of Nigeria’s economy turning at a time when it is facing a major challenge from COVID-19. Our experience from past shocks, including the global financial crisis in 2008, has taught us that keeping companies solvent is key to saving jobs and limiting economic damage.”

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