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Nigeria Votes $500 Million for Small-Business Lending

Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest economy, created a $500 million fund to increase lending to small businesses, Finance Minister Olusegun Aganga said.

The money will be channeled through the state-owned Bank of Industries on “terms suited to improve the competitiveness of the sector,” Aganga said in an e-mailed statement today from his office in the capital, Abuja.

Africa’s most populous country and top oil producer aims to boost growth by developing small businesses in the hope that they will help create jobs for its unemployed citizens. President Goodluck Jonathan recently provided $200 million for loans to businesses in the entertainment industry, said Aganga.

The country’s economy will expand about 7.8 percent this year, up from 7 percent last year, driven by non-oil industries such as agriculture, Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said on Sept. 21.

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