British International Investment

First Bank Nigeria

West AfricaFinancial services

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is a multinational bank and financial services company in Nigeria.

Our investment

Description of the investment.

Our $100 million finance facility with FirstBank will direct funding to women-owned and led businesses as well as to local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. This includes $30 million targeted to women-owned and led businesses.

Impact information

Applies to investments made from 2019 onwards. The tabs in this section define what we expect to achieve through the investment, assessing the potential impact of the investment against six dimensions of impact. You can find more details on our methodology of assessing impact here.


  • Increased economic opportunities via increased access to finance targeted towards SME sub-borrowers (SDG 8.10)
  • Increased economic opportunities via increased access to finance targeted towards women-owned businesses as sub-borrowers (SDG 8.10, 5a)



As one of our first 'directed lending' facilities, our capital will be targeted towards eligible SME borrowers and women-owned businesses. No more than 70 per cent of the capital will be used to fund MSME loans, and no less than 30 per cent of the capital will be targeted to women-owned businesses. Of the latter, up to $16 million of our capital will be used to fund the expected growth of FirstBank's 'FirstGem' gender-focused services, and the remainder minimum $14 million will be used to fund women-owned businesses within the broader SME book. To track the expected volumes, we will take a portfolio and list-based approach, to ensure a minimum total amount of $30 million will be lent to women-owned MSMEs across two separate business lines within the bank. Increased access to finance for eligible sub-borrowers enables them to respectively improve their personal growth and economic opportunities.


Stakeholder Geography Characteristics
Owners, employees


Focus on SMEs with revenue between NGN1 billion ($2.4 million equivalent) and a likely upper limit of NGN 5 billion ($13.1 equivalent)

Owners, employees


Focus on women-owned businesses (by shareholding) in the FirstGem and broader MSME books. For reporting purposes we require the SME portion to have a minimum $100k sub-loan size.

How much?

Scale Depth/Duration
  • Increase in SME loan book by 13 per cent annually until 2023, representing a total volume of new lending of $166 million over 2021-23.
  • Increase in single digit loan book by 50 per cent by end of 2023, with an increase from 12,500 clients to 22,500; an additional $14 million of lending will be done via gender SME loans.




Grid score

Grid Score

To help us direct our investments, we previously used a tool called the Development Impact Grid. It scored investments out of four, based on two factors: the difficulty of investing in a country and the propensity of the sector to generate employment. This tool was used for investments until the end of 2021. Since 2022 it has been replaced by the Impact Score.



Execution Risk
  • There is fungibility risk and growth in the local currency book may not be fully representative of our targeted capital.
Evidence Risk
  • Gender disaggregated data and management information system capabilities are not fully in place.

Reporting and Complaints Mechanism

The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism allows anyone outside BII to report alleged breaches of the business integrity or environmental and social provisions of BII’s Policy on Responsible Investing. This includes breaches made by BII, a BII investee, or a portfolio company of a fund in which BII has invested. The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism Rules are available here. Reports and complaints can be submitted by email to [email protected] or by mail. See more details on our Reporting and Complaints Mechanism here.

For any other general enquiries contact us at [email protected]

  • Key facts

    Last updated

    When the last quarterly update of the website database occurred.

    June 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.


    The current status of the investment (green flag for active and red flag for exited).


    The geographical region where the country is located. We currently invest in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Caribbean. In 2023, BII’s investment mandate was extended allowing it to invest in regional funds linked to Ukraine, with the majority of activity expected to begin post-war. Investments outside these regions were made prior to 2012 under previous investment mandates.

    West Africa

    The countries where the investment delivers impact. Where impact is delivered in multiple countries, this is indicated.


    We prioritise those sectors that facilitate development and need our capital the most. Our priority sectors contribute towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They range from investing in the power infrastructure that will provide people with better access to electricity, to investing in financial institutions that direct capital to the individuals and businesses that need it the most.

    Financial services

    We provide capital in the following ways: directly – through direct equity, direct debt, guarantees and other non-intermediated financial instruments; and indirectly – principally through investment funds.

    For direct investments and fund investments, this is the date BII committed capital to the investments. This is typically the date on which legal agreements are signed by all parties.

    For the portfolio companies of our fund investments, this is the date (either the month or the quarter) on which the fund committed capital to the portfolio company.

    For direct equity investments, this is the date at which British International Investment exited the investment.

    For debt investments, this is the date at which the final debt repayment was made.

    For funds, this is the date at which the fund was terminated.

    For underlying fund investments, this is the date at which the fund manager exited the investment.

    The total amount committed, per financial instrument, per investment, on the date BII becomes subject to a binding legal obligation to provide funding or assume a contingent liability. This information is provided in US dollars.

    For direct investments, this is the amount that BII has committed to the business or project. For fund investments, this is the amount BII has committed to the fund.

    The currency in which the investment was made.

    Investment type :
    Start date :
    December 2021
    Amount :
    Currency of investment :

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    2X Gender Finance

    Indicates whether the investment is ‘2X qualified’ using the 2X Challenge criteria. You can find out more here. It only applies to investments made from 2018 onwards, when the 2X Challenge was first launched.

    Fully qualified

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