In October 2018, MCE made a $1,500,000 debt investment in Baobab Nigeria, a for-profit institution that provides simple financial services to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to facilitate their growth and expansion. Baobab Nigeria is a subsidiary of Baobab Group (formerly Microcred Group), a digital financial inclusion network founded in 2005.
Baobab Nigeria began operations in 2009 with its first loan in Kaduna State in northwestern Nigeria. In 2015, the institution obtained a national license allowing it to expand geographically. As of 2018, Baobab Nigeria has 20 branches across the country, reaching more than 20,300 borrowers and 79,000 depositors. Sixty-one percent of these borrowers are women, primarily in urban areas.
According to a 2016 study, 41% of Nigerians are considered “banked” (meaning they have access to formal financial services) and 11% are “under-banked” (meaning they have access to informal financial services). This leaves a very large unmet need of 49% of Nigerians (or ~47M adults), who are considered “unbanked” (without access to a financial institution).12
Baobab Nigeria seeks to fill this financial inclusion gap through loan products that cater to the size and need of micro-entrepreneurs, allowing them to develop credit histories and join the formal financial system. Baobab Nigeria’s operations ultimately lead to inclusive economic development that incorporates people of all income levels.
This investment marks MCE’s entry in Nigeria, and will allow Baobab Nigeria to continue to reach more micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises across the country.
Above: MCE Portfolio Manager Elisabeth Chasia with Baobab Nigeria Branch Manager Oyindamola
1 Sustainable + Inclusive Digital Financial Services, “Digital Financial Services in Nigeria – State of the Market Report”, Lagos Business School, 2017.
2 The World Bank, “Population ages 15-64”. Accessed March 19, 2018, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator