By Taofik Salako, Deputy Group Business EditorThe board of directors of African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan of $50 million to for First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to channel to Nigerian enterprises and women-empowered businesses in the agribusiness, manufacturing, healthcare and renewable energy sectors.Thirty percent of the funds, which are intended to mitigate effects of the challenging COVID-19 environment, are earmarked for underserved women-empowered businesses.In addition, the bank will provide a technical assistance grant of $200,000 through its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative supported by the Women Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative. The grant will complement the loan by enabling FCMB to provide non-financial services, including training, and to strengthen its monitoring and reporting functions.The African Development Bank is pleased to support FCMBs strategy to become a dominant player in addressing the funding needs of women-empowered and local enterprises.This project will extend valuable resources to critical but underserved segments during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with its adverse macroeconomic impacts, said Stefan Nalletamby, the African Development Banks Director of Financial Sector Development.Small- and medium-sized firms account for up to 80 per cent of employment in most African countries and women-empowered businesses typically face a considerable financing gap. The Nigerian economy has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and falling crude oil prices have had a ripple effect on the wider economy.AfDB noted that the project aligns with the objectives of AFAWA, which aims to improve gender inclusivity by improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs.According to AfDB, the project also advances the banks ten-year strategy and is consistent with three of its high-five strategic priorities: industrialize africa, feed africa, and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. It also aligns with the Nigeria Country Strategy Paper 2020-2024.The AfDB is an implement. Click here to read full news..