Micro, small, and medium sized businesses (MSMEs) make up 75 percent of Nigeria’s non-oil economy; in the right environment these businesses could contribute far more to the country’s economic well being. Nathan London is managing this World Bank pilot program to stimulate job creation, economic growth, and competitiveness among enterprises in the states of Lagos, Kaduna, and Abia. The project has four components: financial services access, business development services access, investment climate improvement, and public-private partnership. So far, we have

    • Helped establish six commercial microfinance institutions that make loans of up to $3,000—funded by local commercial banks mobilizing 600,000 new savers and 200,000 borrowers.
    • Helped a major commercial bank downsize its loan products.
    • Implemented supply side interventions to deepen the market for BDS.
    • Studied growth and competitiveness in four value chains: aquaculture, tourism, rice and palm oil.
    • Devised a financial services reform program for business registration, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), the legal and regulatory framework for secured lending and credit bureaus.
    • Devised a reform program for secured transactions that (1) established a pledge registry, (2) raised awareness of registry and regulatory reform, and (3) trained financial service providers to use the registry in loan applications and develop products that make use of this new information source.
    • Developed and now oversee training for the NIPC, the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria, the Central Bank, and state and private agencies in Lagos, Kaduna, and Abia.

Sponsored a $1.5 million grant to the Acción Microfinance Bank to fund technical services and equity and lendable financing by private investors.

A unified registration process involving the company registry, inland revenue and investment promotion agency has been agreed and is being computerized, ADR courts are being developed in all the states, the regulatory framework for credit bureaus has been agreed by the Central Bank of Nigeria and legislation to enable secured lending is being drafted. Over 10,000 businesses have been assisted so far and an independent survey shows that clients have increased turnover by a far higher percentage than the control group.

One of 8 pilot country programs by the World Bank, the Nigeria MSME Development project is considered the most successful. Nathan London manages all components and oversees monitoring and evaluation.

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