IFC, the inestment arm of the World Bank, will provide $10 million loan to LAPO Microfinance Bank in Nigeria to roll out agent banking that will increase access to financial services for low-income customers, small-scale entrepreneurs and rural communities. It is the largest-ever investment IFC has made in a microfinance institution in Sub-Saharan Africa.
LAPO Microfinance Bank, one among the pioneer MFIs in Nigeria, has grown its client base from 700,000 in 2012 to more than 2 million, across 28 of Nigeria’s 36 states, with an aim to reach up to 5 million by 2017. IFC probided 800 million Naira to LAPO in 2012 and this is the second major credit extended to LAPO.
Godwin Ehigiamusoe, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of LAPO MfB, said, “We are taking further steps to increase our reach to more low income earners and more micro, small and medium enterprises. IFC’s long term support has helped us and we hope this new project will lead to enhanced financial access for more financially excluded Nigerians.”
Eme Essien Lore, IFC’s Country Manager for Nigeria, said, “Our relationship with LAPO MfB will help us reach out to the low income people in Nigeria to improve financial inclusion and help grow the economy.”
IFC is a leading investor in microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a fast-growing, well-performing portfolio of equity, debt and advisory projects. IFC’s portfolio includes 25 microfinance institutions across 13 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, which have reached over 2.6 million borrowers and 12.7 million depositors among microenterprises and low-income households.
Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, IFC’s investments in FY2015 rose to nearly $18 billion.