Knowledge sharing event on 26 February 2020 at the Sandralia Hotel in Abuja
Knowledge sharing event on 26 February 2020 at the Sandralia Hotel in Abuja

Solutions that Work – Business Growth and Employment Creation through Innovative Financial Services for MSMEs, Start-ups, and Agri-Businesses

The Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria Programme – SEDIN launched a knowledge sharing event on 26 February 2020 at the Sandralia Hotel in Abuja. The objective of the event was to share success stories and lessons learned from the collaboration among 15 microfinance banks (MFBs) and SEDIN since 2018.  In addition, the event offered a space for dialogue and fruitful discussions among financial and private sector development experts, the management of SEDIN, supported MFBs, as well as key stakeholders of the microfinance sector.

To promote employment and economic growth through micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), SEDIN works towards strengthening access to innovative and targeted financial services through MFBs. In close cooperation with Agriculture & Finance Consultants GmbH (AFC), capacity building interventions were implemented to support the MFBs in their organisational and product development. Overall, more than 1,330 loan officers were trained on topics, which aim at streamlining and increasing efficiency of lending operations, ownership, loan recovery and portfolio management as well as consumer protection and service quality.  MFBs were also assisted in the development, integration and roll-out of innovative new loan products targeted at MSMEs, start-ups, and agri-businesses. A special focus was laid on youth and women. In 2019 alone, supported MFBs grew their portfolios by 20%, and more local enterprises were able to obtain a loan that meets their financing needs. First results from measuring MSME profits and estimating employment effects through access to financial services in Nigeria are very positive.  91% of MSMEs in Ogun, Plateau and Niger State surveyed in 2017 and 2019 reported that their profits increased by more than 30%. Furthermore, 10,039 new jobs as well as 31,964 existing ones were sustained and improved.

Awards were presented to five MFBs for their outstanding implementation of new loan products. During the piloting stage in 2019, the five banks disbursed over 900 fixed asset loans to local businesses and unemployed youth at a total volume of NGN 262 million. One of the winning banks was Gowans Microfinance Bank from Jos, whose Managing Director and CEO, Mrs. Hauwa Kassim, happily said: “What makes me most proud is that our bank was able to support and give hope to young people […] Young Nigerians must be engaged to move our country forward. By giving out those loans, we are empowering people and touching lives, which is part of our mission.” For the future, she hopes to further grow the bank’s portfolio and to reach even more individuals, particularly women and youth.