By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) has moved to support women and youth exporters with a seed fund of N10 billion under a new programme coined Women and Youth Export Facility (WAYEF).
The bank also announced a partnership with Afreximbank under which $50 million Project Preparation Fund (PPF) will be mobilised for Nigeria.
The PPF is to provide technical assistance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including those promoted by women and youths towards presenting bankable proposals thereby improving their access to funds.
Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Abubakar Bello, who spoke at the launch in Abuja, described empowering women as smart business, owing to the multiplying effects of women’s businesses on their families and the larger society.
Bello explained that the bank has provided enormous support for many export-oriented industries that are high employers of women and youth such as cashew, Shea, hibiscus, ginger etc where a lot of women are involved in cleaning and packaging of the products for export.
He said WAYEF 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 and focused arrangement.
At the event which also featured a capacity building session on the theme “Unlocking Export Market Opportunities for Women & Youth”, Bello stated: “Over the years, the Bank has provided enormous support for many export-oriented industries that are high employers of women and youth, such as Cashew, Shea, Hibiscus, Ginger etc. where a lot of women are involved in cleaning and packaging of products for export.
“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 her presentation, Stella Okotete, Executive Director, Business Development, who has been in the vanguard of developing this product, said that the facility was designed to attract 9.0 per cent interest, adding, loans disbursed between now and 2022 would attract as low as 5.0 per cent, as a result of COVID-19 effects on the global economy.
According to her, NEXIM’s objectives were to stimulate and increase deliberate funding to indigenous women and youths towards broadening Nigeria’s export basket and facilitating regional industrialization for value-added exports, as well as, improving access of women and youths to concessionary finance in a bid to expand and diversify the non-oil export baskets.