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IFC Announces $50 Million Loan to Equity Bank to Support Kenyan SMEs During COVID-19


For IFC:
Everlyne Situma
Phone: +254 701 961 045
E-mail: esituma@ifc.org

For Equity Bank:
Alex Muhia
Phone: +254 763 618 871
E-mail: Alex.Muhia@equitybank.co.ke


Nairobi, Kenya, July 22, 2020—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a $50 million loan to Equity Bank Kenya to help it increase working capital and trade-related lending to its small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) clients, especially those facing COVID-19 related challenges.

The loan, which will ultimately support hundreds of Kenyan businesses in the manufacturing, health, trade, transport, and consumer goods sectors, is part of IFC’s global $8 billion fast-track COVID-19 facility, announced in March and designed to help businesses maintain operations and jobs during—and after—the COVID-19 crisis.

Dr. James Mwangi, Equity Group CEO, said, “IFC’s loan, part of our business continuity management plan, will help Equity Bank extend much-needed support to our clients, particularly to SMEs in sectors hit hard by COVID-19. We have purposed to support and walk with them so that they can survive during this crisis, recover, and thrive after it. I call on customers looking to seize emerging opportunities in the health and medical sector to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) or support the logistics of the entire ecosystems and value chain to take advantage of the $50 million facility.”  

Manuel Moses, IFC Country Manager for Kenya, said, “IFC’s longstanding partnership with Equity Bank underscores our commitment to Kenya’s financial sector and wider economy, especially during these difficult economic times. Keeping businesses solvent and protecting jobs are essential parts of IFC’s response to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted trade and value chains in Kenya, across Africa, and around the world, affecting commodity prices, reducing foreign financing flows, and collapsing tourism revenues. Smaller businesses are the life blood of Kenya’s economy, accounting for about  81 percent of employment.

IFC’s portfolio in Kenya stood at $884 million as of June 30, 2020, with investments supporting growth and jobs in the financial, manufacturing, agribusiness, services, infrastructure, and other sectors. IFC remains committed to scaling investment and advisory support in Kenya, especially within the context of Kenya’s Big Four Agenda of manufacturing, affordable housing, affordable healthcare, and food security.

About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2019, we invested more than $19 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About Equity Bank Kenya
Equity Bank Kenya is the largest bank subsidiary of Equity Group Holdings Plc with a foot-print of 182 branches, spread across the country and is supported by over 39,160 agents, 17,561 merchants and 400 ATMs. Equity Group Holdings Plc is a financial services holding company listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange, Uganda Securities Exchange, and Rwanda Stock Exchange. In addition to Equity Bank Kenya, the Group has banking subsidiaries in, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania, DRC, and a Commercial Representative Office in Ethiopia; with additional non-banking subsidiaries engaged in the provision of investment banking, custodial, insurance agency, philanthropy, consulting, and infrastructure services.

Equity Group has an asset base of nearly USD 7 billion. With over 14 million customers, the Group is one of the biggest banks by customer base in the region. The Group has a footprint of 300 branches, 50,622 Agents and 30,561 Merchants and 624 ATMs. The Group is the largest bank in market capitalization in East and Central Africa. The Banker Top 1000 World Banks 2019 ranked Equity Bank 844 overall in its global ranking, 75th in soundness (Capital Assets to Assets ratio), 32nd in terms of Profits on Capital and 15th on Return on Assets. In the same year, Moody’s gave the Bank a global rating of B1 with a stable outlook same as the sovereign rating of the Kenyan government due to the Bank’s strong brand recognition, solid liquidity buffers and resilient funding profile, established domestic franchise and extensive adoption of digital and alternative distribution channels. Equity Group Holdings Plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya. Additional information, visit www.equitygroupholdings.com

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