In a significant stride towards environmental sustainability, Access Bank PLC, Nigeria’s largest commercial bank, has inked a historic loan agreement valued at US$ 75 million with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The ceremony, which took place on Monday, February 5, 2024, marks JICA’s first private sector investment finance in the banking sector within the Sub-Saharan African region, with Citi acting as the sole coordinator and agent.
The agreement underscores a joint commitment by Access Bank, JICA, and Citi to bolster climate change measures in Nigeria. The funds are earmarked to finance various sub-projects, including renewable-energy projects, energy-saving initiatives, and agriculture-related ventures aimed at bolstering climate change measures.
Roosevelt Ogbonna, Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank PLC, emphasized the significance of this partnership, stating, “At Access Bank, we recognize the urgent need for sustainable solutions to combat climate change.” Ogbonna added, “By investing in renewable-energy, energy-saving, and agriculture-related projects, we aim to create a positive ripple effect, not only mitigating the effects of climate change but also fostering economic growth and improving livelihoods within our communities.”
Jin Wakabayashi, Deputy Director General at JICA, hailed the collaboration as a milestone in the organization’s cooperation with Nigeria. He expressed delight in working with Access Bank, a reputable partner with a proven track record in climate finance. Wakabayashi highlighted the importance of utilizing the funds for projects contributing to climate change measures in Nigeria, foreseeing deeper collaboration in the years ahead.
Richard Hodder, Global Head of Export Agency Finance at Citi, commended the partnership’s impact, noting, “Citi is proud to partner as the sole coordinator and agent in facilitating JICA’s first transaction in Sub-Saharan Africa under the Private Sector Investment and Finance scheme.” Hodder emphasized that this partnership signifies a meaningful roadmap towards Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD 9) in 2025.
Nigeria, a signatory to the Paris Agreement, has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, necessitating substantial investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. This initiative aligns with Nigeria’s efforts to mobilize private sector funds for climate action, in line with Sustainable Development Goals 2, 7, 13, and 17.
Through strategic collaborations and innovative financing mechanisms, Access Bank, JICA, and Citi are pioneering efforts to address climate change challenges, setting a precedent for sustainable development in the region.
For more information, please visit Access Bank PLC, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Citi.
By Augustine Idoje