The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) has made available a seed fund of N10 billion to provide loan facilities for women and youth exporters under a new programme coined Women and Youth Export Facility (WAYEF).
The bank also said it has entered into a partnership with Afreximbank under which $50 million Project Preparation Fund (PPF) will be mobilised for Nigeria.
The objective of 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.
The managing director/chief executive officer, NEXIM Bank, Abubakar Abba Bello made the revelations in Abuja at the launch of Women and Youth Export Facility (WAYEF).
Speaking at the programme, Bello said the launch of the facility was in commemoration of the 2021 “International Women’s Day” celebrated globally on March 8, adding that WAYEF would increase women and youth participation in the global export market.
The event also featured a capacity building session on the theme “Unlocking Export Market Opportunities for Women & Youth”, where women and youth that were engaged in profitable export businesses were invited to share their experiences as a source of inspiration and encouragement to others.
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. According to him “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”.
Also speaking, Stella Okotete, the executive director, Business Development, who ascribed the whole idea of WAYEF to Bello, said part of the reason why women and the youth were not fully playing as aggregators and exporters in the agriculture value-chain was because of the high cost of funds and difficulty in accessing the same. To that effect, she said WAYEF is the answer.
The executive director, Corporate Services of NEXIM Bank, Dr. Bala Bello thanked all the participants and the invited guests that graced the occasion which was well attended and urged women, youth, and exporters in general to continue to make efforts to access the funds provided by the bank.