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    Thursday, May 9, 2024

    USAID, FCMB Partner to Strengthen Nigeria's Private Health Sector

    USAID, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and the U.S. International Development

    Finance Corporation (DFC) have launched a partnership to facilitate 10 million dollar loans to strengthen Nigeria’s private health sector.

    The loans will bolster access to finance for businesses in the health sector, specifically micro, small, and medium-sised enterprises, and underserved populations, including women and youth.

    Melissa Jones, Mission Director, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Nigeria, at the partnership launch on Wednesday in Lagos said“Nigeria is facing challenges in the health sector.”

    She added that the agreement would advance government’s efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and improved healthcare for Nigerians.

    According to her, underinvestment is one of the key issues affecting the health sector.

    She said “with Nigeria struggling to meet the 2001 Abuja Declaration goal of allocating 15 per cent of its budget to health amid competing national priorities, private investment in the sector is Increasingly crucial to bridge the gaps.

    “According to the World Health Organisation, Nigeria ranks 187th out of 191 countries in health system performance.”

    She, however, said limited access to finance remained a central concern for the numerous small businesses that dominate Nigeria’s health sector.

    This, she said, impedes businesses’ ability to expand, diversify products and services and, in some cases, to operate.

    Jones said the financing opportunities being provided to selected private healthcare sector MSMEs would improve their ability to provide basic healthcare services to reach Nigeria’s growing population.

    “Beyond financing, USAID will also provide technical assistance to FCMB to support the bank’s loan origination and monitoring processes for eligible loans.

    “The technical assistance project will support FCMB to tailor loan products to the specific needs of its target market, develop a pipeline of beneficiaries, and increase their credit worthiness.

    “In addition to this health loan portfolio, we are committed to working with FCMB to disburse loans to the agriculture and renewable energy sectors through our existing partnerships,” Jones said.

    Yemisi Edun, Managing Director, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), said that a robust healthcare system is the foundation of national development.

    She added that with rapid adoption of healthcare technologies, Nigeria’s health sector has the potential to leapfrog toward holistic transformation.

    She noted that FCMB would be playing a role in the journey by bridging long-standing gaps, enhancing efficiency, and ultimately supporting the sector in delivering better care for Nigerians.

    “This facility represents a catalyst for progress, fueling services, expansion of infrastructure, and instilling hope within the sector.”

    Edun also commended the DFC for the commitment to improve local access to quality healthcare and investing in a healthier, more productive future

    For Nigerians by addressing the financing gap in the healthcare value chain.

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