Access to loans by small business owners in Nigeria is a difficult task and one that many Nigerians do not want to venture into.

The fear of collateral and rigorous process most times chase them away.

They need finances to push their businesses to the next level.

An opportunity has, however, come to small business owner to get loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The bank on Friday officially inaugurated a 1 billion Naira loan through Fortis Microfinance Bank to help boost Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development.

The disbursement would be done through four branches of the bank in Abuja, a Consultant with AfDB, Mr Ilan Wolkov, told newsmen.

Wolkov is the Team Leader of Frankfurt School of Finance Management.

Although the loan is easy to access, it also has flexible conditions.

He said: “This is the official opening of the pilot phase that we are setting up in four branches in Kubwa, Dei-Dei, Mararaba, and Utako.

“The fund is meant to specifically for businesses of SMEs customers, and what is important today is that we are officially signing our first Fortis/ AfDB pilot client under this scheme.

“We believe that funds will greatly increase customer’s experience with possibly larger loans with its flexible conditions for collateral and guarantees”.

The loan inauguration is coming 10 months after AfDB and Fortis Micro Finance Bank Plc signed an agreement for a 1 billion Naira credit facility for onward lending to SMEs operators in Nigeria.

At the inauguration, the Executive Director, Development Finance of Fortis, Mr Adewale Aderounmu, highlighted that the fund would primarily support the development of small businesses in Nigeria.

He believes small businesses are the engine of growth for economic development both in developing and developed countries.

"So, the AFDB in support of the SMs sector in Nigeria evaluated the bank and deemed it viable to partner with us as our developing partner in developing the SMEs sector in Nigeria.

“Up till now, more than 600 customers have benefited from the AfDB loan and after this event we still expect to disburse a number of additional loans under the SMEs funding from AfDB,” he told reporters.