The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has signed an agreement with the Grooming Centre to support micro and small businesses in the country with a total of N650 million. Specifically, the fund is aimed at increasing access to finance for up to 780,000 micro-enterprises by 2018. The project is also expected to improve financial inclusion, promote job creation and growth in Nigeria . A statement further explained that the IFC's local currency loan would help the Grooming Centre offer increased financial services to economically active low income earners engaged in small-scale trading and productive microenterprises. Thereafter, the Grooming Centre would use the fund to reach entrepreneurs in more than half of the 36 states in the country, including those in remote rural areas largely unserved by other lenders. The Chief Executive Officer of Grooming Centre, Dr. Godwin Nwabunka said: "Grooming Centre's mission is to empower the economically active low income earners by bringing a range of tailor-made microfinance services to their doorstep, using globally-tested best practice methodologies. Our partnership with IFC will help us strengthen the microfinance market in Nigeria , expand our coverage on a sustainable basis, and create greater income for our members." On his part, the IFC Country Manager for Nigeria , Solomon Adegbie-Quaynor said the multilateral institution was supporting the Grooming Centre in order to improve financial inclusion and help grow the Nigerian economy. "This loan will provide local currency finance and empower entrepreneurs and microenterprises that cannot yet access the formal banking sector," he added. The Grooming Centre provides access to finance for entrepreneurs at the base of Nigeria's economic pyramid. It currently serves over 300,000 member clients with loans as small as N30, 000 (about $200 ). The organisation had built a N7 billion loan portfolio and employs over 1,200 people. On the other hand, the IFC aims to promote financial sector diversification through specialised products, including trade finance, housing finance, insurance, and micro, small and medium enterprise finance. Over the years, IFC has invested in excess of $10 billion in more than 60 local currencies around the world to help protect borrowing companies from currency risk by enabling them to borrow in the same currency in which they generate revenue. "In microfinance, IFC is a leading investor in Africa with a fast-growing, well-performing portfolio of equity, debt and advisory projects. IFC's portfolio includes investments in26 microfinance institutions in 12 countries in Africa ," it added.
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