VENTURES AFRICA – World Bank’s investment fund unit, International Finance Corporation (IFC) has invested 800 million naira ($5 million) in Nigeria-based Lift Above Poverty Organization Microfinance Bank (LAPO), for the provision of affordable financial services to low income earners.
IFC’s Country Manager, Solomon Adegbie-Quaynor disclosed this adding that the investment is IFC’s debut funding of a national microfinance.
According to a report, Nigeria’s poverty level has hit an all time high of 71.5 percent on the back of economic disempowerment, with about 100 million Nigerians living on less than a dollar per day.
IFC which is the largest global development institution solely responsible for investment in the private sector of developing countries, has partnered with LAPO to alleviate the circumstance.
“Through this partnership IFC is helping LAPO expand our capacity to reach a wider group of clients. Our relationship will help build greater financial inclusion among a rural low-income client base in Nigeria,” LAPO’s MD, Godwin Ehigiamusoe, said.
Adegbie-Quaynor commenting on the financial institution said: “LAPO provides a platform to distribute other tailored services at the base-of-the-pyramid, including micro-health insurance and environmentally-friendly energy products, such as solar lanterns and cooking gas.”
Though LAPO was formally incorporated as a non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) in 1993, the institution started its philanthropic mission in 1987. In Nigeria, LAPO has partnered with the Grameen Bank, Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst (EED) Church Development Service Germany, USAID, and The Grameen Foundation.
LAPO focuses on assisting the poor, especially the women, in raising their socio-economic statuses. It not only acts as a microcredit institution, but also assists clients in overcoming problems such as illiteracy and environmental degradation (which often aggravates poverty).
IFC is a leading investor in microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a fast-growing, well-performing portfolio of equity, debt and advisory projects. IFC’s portfolio includes 24 microfinance clients across 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which have reached over 1.5 million microenterprises and low-income households.