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Sunday, November 3, 2013

IFC, Diamond Bank increase agric finance by N5tn

International Finance Corporation,(IFC) a member of the World Bank Group  has said it will provide advisory services to Diamond Bank Plc to help the lender increase access to finance in Nigeria’s agricultural sector by up to $33million (about N5 trillion )over two years.
This was made known in a statement issued by the corporation, sighted by NaijaAgroNet which explained that the projected lending would be extended to small and medium enterprises across the sector, including livestock farmers, producer groups, distributors, processors, traders and retailers.
 “It will also target almost 2,000 small holder farmers.  IFC will provide Diamond Bank with advisory services on strategy, product development and risk management, and help develop a financing model to viably lend to small and medium agribusinesses,” the statement said.
The Group Managing Director/CEO, Diamond Bank, Mr. Alex Otti said the bank has always demonstrated market leadership in the provision of innovative financial services and solutions to all segments of the society and stressing that  partnership with IFC, the bank will serve the Nigeria’s newly emerging bankable population in the agricultural sector better, and create more growth opportunities for the players as well as the economy.
IFC Financial Markets Manager in Sub-saharan Africa, Mr. Ian Weetman, said increasing growth and employment in the agricultural sector was a critical objective for IFC in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa; hence the corporation’s advisory services geared towards increasing access to finance throughout the agricultural and food supply chain.
NaijaAgroNet confirmed that IFC and Diamond Bank have been longstanding partners that have seen agriculture as the main activity of the majority of Nigerians,  accounting for 40 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 60 per cent of employment, but presently only receives 1.4 per cent of total commercial bank lending in the country. 

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