Growing the economy with infrastructure development: The Access Bank example

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The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has gone beyond the commonly understood provision for humanitarian needs in the immediate community where an organization operates.

The increasing involvement of organizations in projects with long term benefits for the generality of the people underscores the importance of public-private partnership for the achievement of national goals and objectives for the general good.

Access Bank Plc, with Herbert Wigwe as group managing director and chief executive officer has, for instance, identified infrastructure as a key component of the conducive environment that must be in place if Nigeria is indeed to play in the league of leading nations and even to attract the much needed foreign investment that is needed to help grow the economy and empower its citizens to achieving their socio-economic goals.

The bank’s competence and expertise in infrastructure financing have earned for it the respect and admiration of all across public and private sector institutions, including governments, making it the preferred financier when it comes to projects that impact heavily on the lives of the citizens.

It is not for nothing that the Lagos State government has struck a partnership with the bank as the lead financier for two major projects that have direct relevance to the socio-economic lives of the people of the state, and those outside. The projects are the Eko Atlantic that is designed to be Nigeria’s version of Manhattan, New York, in the United States, as well as the Fourth Mainland Bridge, the N844 billion, N38 kilometer road/bridge project that will link Ikorodu with Eti Osa Local Government Area.

Access Bank’s foremost status in infrastructure financing is underscored by the fact that it is leading two internationally renowned financial institutions – J. P. Morgan and Africa Finance Corporation – on the new bridge project.

The bank is also collaborating with the Dangote Foundation to raise five billion naira for the building of a state-of-the-art International Research Centre of Excellence for the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, in Abuja, for the promotion of public-private partnership for quality health services, capacity building and research in West Africa.

But what if the bank decided it had no business getting involved in infrastructure development, seeing it purely as a government affair? Its business, and therefore the purpose of its existence, would not be affected in any way. It would still continue to post impressive results and deliver attractive bottom line. But this would be a sharp contrast to its business philosophy that is anchored on the belief that its success can only be measured against the success of the country in its quest to be an attractive investment destination, not just in Africa, but also around the world.

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