Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has partnered with the Nigeria’s Bank of Industry (BOI) to set up a 5 billion naira small and medium scale enterprises fund to grant low interest loans to entrepreneurs and small businesses in Nigeria. The fund is targeted at development of MSMEs across the nation with loans attracting only a 5% interest rate and a focused Bottom of the Pyramid Scheme to deepen access to the fund by entrepreneurs and micro enterprises.
According to him:
”Dangote Foundation is committed to initiating policies and executing programmes and projects aimed at creating jobs and poverty alleviation in Nigeria. As an organisation, we have it as a matter of policy, to give back to the society where we operate.
“To demonstrate our commitment to these goals, we have invited you here today to witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, between Dangote Foundation and the Bank of Industry, Bol, to set up a micro, small and medium enterprises, MSMEs, Fund. The first tranche of this fund is N5 billion. We expect the fund to grow to N20 billion when it gains momentum.
“In our MoU with BoI, Dangote Foundation will commit N2.5 billion to the Fund, while BoI will also contribute a matching fund of N2.5 billion, thus creating a total fund of N5 billion to launch the Fund, which shall be used for lending to identified groups in the informal sector of the economy in the six geo-political zones in the country as take off or working capital to support their businesses.
The first phase of the project is expected to impact directly on up to 13,000 registered groups in the entire country. Each group shall have an average of 20 entrepreneurs, thus impacting the lives of up to 250,000 micro-entrepreneurs, through job creation, spreading across all six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
These micro-enterprises shall include but not be limited to cassava processors, aluminium artisans, poultry farmers, calabash carving groups, small traders, cattle rearing groups, vegetable sellers, market women, artisan groups etc.
According to our agreement, BOI shall be the implementing partner with responsibility for appraising loan applications, disbursing loans and managing recoveries. It is important to stress that the size of the loan to be granted to each beneficiary, at zero interest, from our end, will vary based on the needs of the beneficiaries.
However, for the purpose of this scheme, the DF-BOI Fund shall be utilized for the following activities: term loans, working capital loans, leasing of industrial/business equipment and trading and allied businesses. In line with our MOU, also, both partners shall put in place control measures to ensure that the businesses to be financed are viable, sustainable and profitable, while sourcing and identification of projects would be a shared responsibility.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Evelyn Oputu, Managing Director BoI, said partnership for entrepreneurial and economic development idea “is to create entrepreneurs for the well-being of average Nigerian. Obutu said discipline has brought Dangote thus far, challenging all Nigeria’s to ensure other people share in their fund”.

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