The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group,has said that it has released up to $100 million to boost Zenith bank support to clients and local businesses.
This is in the corporation’s effort to cushion the effect of ravaging COVID-19 on businesses.
The fund is part of IFC’s $8 billion global fast-track financing package, announced in March to support business activities and sustain jobs in the face of COVID-19. This is its first investment in Africa since the announcement in March.
The funding will help Zenith bank to address challenges resulting from ongoing limited access to foreign currency, working capital, and trade funding.
IFC noted in particular that the fund would enable the bank to support a number of businesses in the health, pharmaceuticals, food, and trading sectors.
It stated that the fund would also enable business owners to strengthen operations, maintain employment, and access critical imports of goods, commodities, and raw materials as the pandemic persists.
Commenting, Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, stated, “IFC’s support is essential and will help us respond to challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
” It will allow us to support compelling export initiatives and trade financing for critical goods and materials, especially for the medical and pharmaceuticals sectors. Our partnership with IFC is strong and we are committed to its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) requirements.”
IFC Country Manager in Nigeria, Eme Essien Lore,said, “IFC’s support for Nigeria’s banking sector will help keep the wheels of Nigeria’s economy turning at a time when it is facing a major challenge from COVID-19.
“Our experience from past shocks, including the global financial crisis in 2008, has taught us that keeping companies solvent is key to saving jobs and limiting economic damage.”