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banks, Nigeria
Small and medium-sized enterprises account for most of Nigeria’s economy. But deprived of adapted loans, their investment capacity remains low. AFD favors their access to the formal banking system.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a key role as a driver of economic growth and employment. They account for most of Nigeria’s economy: in 2013 there were about 20 million of them. 

Despite their widespread presence, the development of Nigerian SMEs is hindered by major obstacles, such as the inefficiency of infrastructures and public services, corruption and limited access to bank financing. SME financing is really low in Nigeria, representing less than 0.2% of total Nigerian banks assets. In 2013, it also represented less than 3% of the total volume of commercial loans.

As in many other Sub-Saharan African countries, Nigerian banks are really cautious towards SMEs. They do not have enough information to properly identify and appraise the least risky clients, and credit application procedures are not formalized enough to apprehend the intrinsic risk in the projects. This general context implies excessive and dissuasive interest rates for SMEs.


ARIZ, AFD’s risk-sharing mechanism is considered a very appropriate response to help the financing sector. It provides the double advantage of facilitating access to finance for SMEs and reducing risk for credit institutions.

The aim of the project is to facilitate SME access to finance, to enable them to invest and develop. The project plans to support the Guarantee Trust Bank in the development of its SME loan portfolio.

Guarantee Trust Bank is ranked as the fourth Nigerian bank in terms of assets, and considered as one of the most profitable banks. It already works with AFD group and benefits from a long-term financing line from Proparco.

The attribution time for ARIZ-eligible loans is two years. The highest share guaranteed is 50% of the amount of the loan. Loans must last between one and five years. Their amount must be between NGN 2.1 million and NGN 63 million. 

  • Financing of 220 loans to Nigerian SMEs;
  • 1,100 jobs created or maintained;
  • Strengthened viability of SMEs in the formal banking system;
  • Emergence of a class of small local entrepreneurs.
Project start date
Project end date
Duration of funding
Financing tool
14 500 000
Financing amount
Small and medium Nigerian enterprises
Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB)