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US development bank invests $530m in Nigerian projects

the United States International Development Finance Corporation says it has invested $530m in Nigeria’s agriculture, financial institutions, critical infrastructure and health projects.

The Regional Director for Africa at DFC, Vibhuti Jain, made this known on Wednesday while speaking at a virtual conference on available US project financing opportunities for Nigerian companies organised by the American Business Council.

She said the development bank was increasing its focus on lower-income countries like Nigeria and had $29.5bn in total active commitments in countries where it operates.

According to her, the bank plans to double this investment to reach $60bn.

Jain explained that the bank launched a direct equity programme in January this year for eligible projects.

Highlighting the plans of the bank for Nigeria this year, Jain said, “We are expanding access to impactful products and with the support of Afrinvest Fund IV and investing in highly developmental sectors such as healthcare and financial services.”

She said the DFC was “mobilising private capital with Merck for mothers, Credit Suisse and the United States Agency for International Development to support LifeBank’s efforts in expanding access to lifesaving medical products, namely blood and blood products for mothers.”

Jain said the bank was actively seeking to invest between $5m and $500m in projects that were addressing health challenges in developing countries in view of the COVID-19 pandemic that had underscored the importance of resilient health systems.

Also speaking, the Power Africa Country Manager for West Africa, Clare Sierawski, said through the United States Trade and Development Agency, the American government was providing project preparation assistance for companies to enable them to access DFC financing.

Sierawski said, “Gas continues to be an area where we have a lot of interest. We have mini-grids projects in South-South and South-West Nigeria. We recently signed a deal with BCN for a subsea cable extension project that will land in Bonny Island.”

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