GT Bank, AFD partner to fund SMEs in Nigeria

Guaranty Trust Bank of Africa recently partnered with Agence Française de Développement (AFD) for the development of the N3 Billion ($15,070,080) Ariz Portfolio Guarantee Scheme.

The initiative will finance small and medium business enterprises (SMEs) and development projects throughout Nigeria by providing a risk-sharing program on loan advances.

"SMEs have a key role as drivers of economic growth and employment," French Ambassador to Nigeria Denys Gauer said. “However, despite the widespread presence of SMEs in Nigeria, the sector faces major obstacles such as the limited access to bank financing, mostly because of the risk factor associated with SMEs. The objective of this scheme is to facilitate SMEs’ access to finance by supporting the development of the GTBank portfolio of SME loans.”

The Ariz Portfolio Guarantee Scheme will provide a safety net to banks, private equity investors and other financial institutions to enable them to increase their participation in SME financing by providing foreign guarantees to local credit facilities.

"Empowering small- and- medium-scale enterprises remains pivotal to the sustenance of growth and development in emerging economies across the world," Segun Agbaje, managing director and CEO of GTBank, said.“The partnership with AFD is the first for any Anglophone speaking country and reaffirms the Bank’s commitment to building a strong SME sector buoyed by easy access to long-term financing."

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