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IFC Invests In Zenith Bank To Support SMEs During The Covid-19 Pandemic


The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has announced an investment of up to $100m in Zenith Bank, Nigeria’s largest bank by total equity and second-largest by asset size. This is to help the Bank increase support to customers and companies whose businesses and cash flows were severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The overall portfolio of International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Nigeria is about $1.3 billion, in sectors including financial services, manufacturing, infrastructure, and technology.

Eme Essien Lore, IFC Country Manager in Nigeria, 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”.

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IFC’s loan to Zenith Bank is its first investment in Africa through its COVID-19 fast-track financing support package. The $8bn financing package was announced in March to support business activity and preserve jobs in the face of COVID-19.

So, this investment will help Zenith, an existing IFC client and Africa’s sixth largest bank, overcome challenges resulting from ongoing pandemic. Zenith has more than 400 branches in Nigeria. Also, they serve over 9 million corporate and individual clients within its global footprint.

What Do Entrepreneurs Stand To Gain?

Zenith will support dozens of businesses in Nigeria’s health, pharmaceuticals, food, and trading sectors. This will allow them to strengthen operations, maintain employment, and access critical imports of goods, commodities, and raw materials during these challenging economic times. 

In addition, this will help SMEs and Entrepreneurs have access to foreign currency, working capital, and trade funding at large. 

What You Need To Know About International Finance Corporation (IFC)

The International Finance Corporation is an international financial institution that offers investment, advisory, and asset-management services. Their mission is to encourage private-sector development in less developed countries. The IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States. 

The corporation’s total investments in 2011 amounted to $18.66 billion. It committed $820 million to advisory services for 642 projects in 2011, and held $24.5 billion worth of liquid assets. The IFC is in good financial standing and received the highest ratings from two independent credit rating agencies in 2018.

Investment Services

IFC’s investment services consist of loans, equity, trade finance, and syndicate loans. They also offer structured and securitized finance, client risk management services, treasury services, liquidity management.

Advisory Services 

In addition to its investment activities, the IFC provides a range of advisory services. Supporting corporate decision making in areas of business, environment, social impact, and sustainability. 

Asset Management Company 

The IFC established IFC Asset Management Company LLC (IFC AMC) in 2009 as a wholly owned subsidiary. This is to manage all capital funds to be invested in emerging markets. The AMC manages capital mobilized by the IFC as well as by third parties. The likes of sovereign or pension funds, and othetr development financing organizations.

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