Ecobank Nigeria has entered into a strategic partnership with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), on a N15 billion ($41 million) investment scheme, being the first tranche in agricultural value chain financing.
Besides, the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan, also disclosed that the bank had concluded plans to invest at least N70 billion in agriculture financing within the next three years.
The partnership between both institutions is in line with the request of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that banks provide more funding to the agriculture sector.
NIRSAL was set up by the Federal Governmental as an innovative mechanism targeted at de-risking lending to the agricultural sector.
While announcing the partnership in Lagos during a business meeting with the management of NIRSAL, Akinwuntan also disclosed that a N15 billion dedicated funding with NIRSAL guarantee is for an initial takeoff tranche and rollovers will be done at the completion of each cycle.
“Agriculture is pivotal to the success and development of any nation’s economy. We are therefore committed to working with NIRSAL to open up the vast opportunities that abound in agriculture. Ecobank has done it in other countries across the continent, so we can do the same in Nigeria. This will give us the opportunity to create employment and enable farmers to finance their children’s education with ease.
“We prefer people to see us not just as a bank, but as a partner who will help them succeed. We are part of the community and we meet the people at the point of their needs.” he said.