Stories by Bimbola Oyesola 08033246177
A platform where businesses in Nigeria can attract funding with single-digit interest rate to expand business, infrastructure and government infrastructure projects has been inaugurated.
The African Infrastructure Development Partnership Switzerland (AFIDEP) is bringing global investors together who are looking to provide long-term investment and equity into businesses in Nigeria and Africa under a hedge fund worth $2 billion.
AFIDEP country director, Mrs. Lola Okanlawon, stated this at the AFIDEP regional forum held at the Sheraton Hotel, Lagos.
Okanlawon said it was open to all sectors: agriculture, tourism, real estate, engineering, solid materials, wholesale, retail and trade, construction, hotel and restaurant, oil and gas, fashion, banking and finance, and telecoms that can benefit the mass populace.
She said all a business needs to access the funds on the platform is a bankable business plan that would be pushed to the investors by AFIDEP and when all requirements have been met finance is assured.
The regional forum, held in collaboration with Res Agnum and Boon Consulting, had the theme “Foreign Investment for Infrastructure and Businesses.”
Okanlawon, chairman of NNEW Women Microfinance Bank, said the platform “can be accessed by startups with good governance, companies that want to expand, those with proper and correct accounts.”
She added that the forum was aimed at sensitising people on the large pool of resources, about $2 billion, to tap from, and, if people tap into it, Nigeria would be able to get better and government won’t have to abandon projects.
“It is a step-by-step process to get people involved, as the same forum is being held across Africa and we brought a few people here as we have to be careful about it so that people won’t see it as a largesse and abuse it,” she said.
The executive director, AFIDEP, Mr Dayo Ogunsola, said the aim was to help businesses and government access credit facilities that are needed to aid development and it could come in form of equity or loan.
Ogunsola said 70 more investors have teamed up to provide more facilities and all people have to do is to submit projects that need to be funded and AFIDEP would bring investors onboard to fund the projects.
He said: “We are a platform that gives access to investors who might not see Africa as a place to invest and we get non-governmental organisations to fund projects that businesses and governments do not have enough capital to fund.
“Its not loan but equity, as it could be equity injection, and we look for owners of businesses, we ask how much they want and we merge them with investors and it could be arrangement between the investor and investee,” he said.