…Signs $40 Million Agreement with AFREXIM Bank, JohnVents Industries to Boost Cocoa Exports
Fidelity Bank Plc, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions has commenced the much-anticipated second edition of the Fidelity International Trade and Creative Connect (FITCC) with a lively opening ceremony on October 24, 2023, in Houston, Texas, United States of America. The two-day event, known as FITCC Houston, brought together a diverse array of businesses, regulators, members of the diplomatic corps, and distinguished guests.
FITCC Houston is designed to achieve several objectives, including expanding the number of Nigerian businesses exporting to the US market, offering the diaspora market more ethnic product options, and enabling exporters to enhance product quality and meet international standards.
Welcoming participants to the event, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the MD/CEO of Fidelity Bank Plc, emphasized the importance of seeking viable alternatives in a rapidly evolving macro-economic environment. She explained that businesses need to cater to an international customer base to hedge against currency devaluation risks, broaden their product reach, and ensure long-term sustainability. She pointed out that globalization underscores the importance of cross-border offerings and collaborations.
Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe highlighted the success of the inaugural FITCC event in London in 2022, where over 100 Nigerian businesses established connections with UK counterparts, resulting in deals worth approximately $200 million. This year, the event aims to surpass this achievement, with a goal of closing deals worth around $250 million.
The event featured keynote and goodwill addresses by Professor Benedict Oramah, the President & Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank), and Dr. Uzoma Emenike, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States of America.
The exhibition at FITCC Houston showcased more than 160 Nigerian and US-based businesses involved in the fintech, commodities, fashion, cosmetics, service, creative, agriculture, and extractive industries within the non-oil sector. One of the exhibitors, Joyce Awosika, Founder/CEO of Oriki Spa, expressed enthusiasm about providing attendees with an impactful experience at their booth.
A significant part of the event included the signing of a $40 million pre-export finance facility in favor of JohnVents Industries, one of the exhibitors at the event. This loan, described as a landmark development within the exports sector, will be provided by AFREXIM Bank, with Fidelity Bank serving as the local administrative agent.
Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe expressed her delight at participating in the loan signing ceremony, which highlights the opportunities in the Nigerian cocoa market to meet the demands of off-takers in the US. She noted the value of the partnership with AFREXIM Bank in providing essential credit to last-mile beneficiaries to expand their operations and cater to a global market, aligning with FITCC’s objectives.
The first day of FITCC Houston concluded with a fashion show titled “The Connect Plus Fashion Show.” The show featured elegantly styled models showcasing distinctive, culturally inspired designs from several Nigerian labels, including Bijelly Couture, Eclectic Chique, and MODChic. The fashion show also provided networking opportunities for guests and participants.
Fidelity Bank, recognized as one of the best banks in Nigeria, serves over 8 million customers through its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, as well as digital banking channels. The bank has received accolades, including “Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023” and “Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022” at the Global Banking and Finance Awards, as well as the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.