JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH African small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly those owned by women, have received a major boost after the International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced new financing of R1,2 billion (US$100 million) to support First National Bank’s (FNB’s) lending.
The financing falls under the IFC SME Push Programe, hailed as a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder initiative that intends to promote lending and strengthen support for SMEs by the formal banking sector.
Aliou Maiga, IFC Africa Head, shailed FNB’s continued expansion of services to SMEs, with a new focus on women.
“We look forward to an even stronger partnership to increase our impact South Africans that have been historically disadvantaged and that can make a major contribution to the local economy,” Maiga said.
FNB pioneered SME Push, launched in June 2017 to channel up to R40 billion into South African SMEs over the next 5-7 years through a comprehensive package, including investments, risk-sharing facilities and advisory services.
The second financing includes a syndicated loan and incentives to reach more women-owned enterprises within the general SME segments, in alignment with World Bank Group and Government of South Africa objectives to reach deeper into the economy.
The collaboration includes advisory services to FNB and its SME clients to increase their financial literacy.
IFC is a member of the World Bank Group
Mike Vacy-Lyle, Chief Executive Officer of FNB Business, said, FNB appreciated the role SMEs, particularly women-owned businesses, played in Africa’s most advanced economy.
“We feel that women run businesses require much more airtime and we hope to grow this segment of the market,” Vacy-Lyle.