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Access bank partners with SCIDaR to enhance financial support for health SMEs in Nigeria

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Access Bank has announced a strategic partnership with the Solina Centre for International Development and Research (SCIDaR) to address the financial challenges faced by over 200,000 health-focused Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. This collaboration is part of the Promoting Accreditation for Community Health Services (PACS) project, aimed at strengthening the supply chain, boosting productivity, and enhancing the economic resilience of health SMEs, particularly Community Pharmacists (CPs) and Patent & Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs).

SCIDaR’s Access to Finance Specialist, Mark Akpan, emphasized that the initiative will prepare SMEs for investment by offering entrepreneurship and financial management training, alongside business development services, to ensure a sustained relationship between health providers and Access Bank.

Through this partnership, Access Bank and SCIDaR will tackle the lending challenges health SMEs face by utilizing tailored financial products and services. These offerings include products designed to meet the credit needs of health SMEs, and the Access Closa product, which enables health SMEs to serve as bank agents in underserved communities, thereby boosting their income and financial stability.

At the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing event in Abuja, Dr. Uchenna Igbokwe, CEO of SCIDaR, highlighted the critical role of funding in improving Nigeria’s health system. He noted that the partnership with Access Bank aligns with the government’s vision for the health sector and has the potential to strengthen health value chains and contribute to the country’s GDP.

Dr. Igbokwe outlined SCIDaR’s focus on access to finance and financial inclusion within the health sector, emphasizing the importance of finance in achieving universal health coverage in Nigeria. He detailed the organization’s approach, based on six cardinal pillars: Research and iterative analysis, product development/adaptation, smart subsidies, financial literacy, technology integration, and sustainable partnerships. These pillars support Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, and 17, promoting progress towards universal health coverage and economic development.

Chizoma Okoli, Deputy Managing Director of Access Bank, reiterated the bank’s commitment to financial inclusion and sustainable development. He mentioned that in 2022, Access Bank launched a project aiming to enroll one in every two Nigerians in financial services, achieving significant results. The partnership with SCIDaR, Okoli noted, underscores the bank’s dedication to fostering financial inclusion within the health sector.

Njideka Esomeju, Group Head of Consumer Banking at Access Bank, assured that the bank is prepared to extend loans to health SMEs, empowering them to expand their operations and effectively serve rural communities. This initiative is expected to enhance financial stability and stimulate economic growth in the health industry.

Chizoba Iheme, Group Head of Financial Inclusion at Access Bank, emphasized the bank’s strategy to extend financial services across all 774 local governments in Nigeria, ensuring access even in remote areas. This effort leverages an extensive agency banking network and digital platforms to connect underserved communities to formal financial services, aiming to improve healthcare access and community well-being.

 


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