By Tunde Osho
United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and China Development Bank (CDB), the world’s largest development finance institution, yesterday announced the signing of a $100 million seven-year loan agreement to finance the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.
The $100 million loan would enhance UBA’s capacity to provide access to finance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the 19 African countries where UBA currently operates.
“We are excited to partner CDB, the Development Financial Institution of the Chinese Government, on this historic transaction, as we strongly believe that the facility will serve as a catalyst to the sustainable development of commerce and industry in Africa through provision of critical financial interventions to SMEs across our presence countries,” Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, said.
Uzoka noted that this line of credit is timely, as it would complement the recovery of economic activities. It will also further encourage African entrepreneurship particularly as the funds will be applied to SMEs, which are important for inclusive growth on the continent.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Chairman of UBA Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, said the fund would boost small and medium scale enterprises across Africa, noting that CDB’s interest in supporting SMEs aligns with UBA’s vision in growing business across Africa.
“In UBA, CDB would have an enduring partner in reaching out to Africans as UBA provides banking services to over 14 million people across 20 African countries, and like CDB, UBA funds critical infrastructural projects on the African continent,” Elumelu said.
He expressed hope that he would like to see a stronger relationship grow with CDB and UBA as well as with China and Nigeria.
Commenting, the President of CDB, Mr. Zheng Zhijie, said the agreement was the beginning of cooperation between UBA and CDB that would translate into an enduring business relationship between China and Africa and Nigeria in particular.
“UBA is a leading and dependable bank, not only in Nigeria but Africa, and this partnership will help our Bank to accelerate its business objectives in Africa, more importantly as we deepen our investment in energy, road and rail constructions, infrastructure in Africa,” Zhije said.
UBA, Africa’s global bank, is one of the largest commercial banks in Nigeria which operates in 19 African countries while providing a wide range of products and services. It is the leading bank in infrastructure financing particularly in the power, telecoms and transport sectors.