The Nigerian Export-Import Bank has announced its partnership with African Export-Import Bank to mobilise the sum of $50m to support Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria.
NEXIM announced on Tuesday in Abuja that the $50m Project Preparation Fund for Nigeria was for the provision of technical assistance to bankable SMEs, especially those promoted by women and youths.
The bank’s Managing Director, Abubakar Bello, disclosed this at the inauguration of Women and Youth Export Development Fund with the theme, ‘Unlocking Export Market Opportunities For Women and Youths.’
He said the fund was part of activities mapped out by both financial institutions to commemorate the 2021 International Women’s Day, which was celebrated globally on March 8.
The NEXIM bank boss said the project would increase women and youth participation in the global agro-export market.
According to Bello, the bank had supported many export-oriented industries that were high employers of women and youth such as firms involved the production of cashew, shea, hibiscus, ginger, etc.
He noted that the fund would provide more financial support for women and youth owned businesses operating in the various aspects of the export value chain under a more dedicated arrangement.
Bello said, “WAYEF, however, seeks to do more by supporting women/youth owned businesses operating in the various aspects of the export value chain under a more dedicated and focused arrangement.
“In Africa and developing countries, discrimination against women has been an age long cultural practices.
“This underscores the need for us to redouble our efforts towards addressing such cultural practices and other obnoxious beliefs that have imposed limitations on the female gender.”
Commenting on the development, the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, said poverty was the deadly disease afflicting women and youths, particularly in rural areas, adding that the initiative by the banks was welcomed.