Press Releases

IFC and Kenya’s Honeycare Africa Sign Loan Agreement

In Washington, D.C.:
Rob Wright

Phone: +(202) 473 7997


Corrie Shanahan

Phone: +(202) 473-2258


Washington D.C., December 21, 2004—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and the Kenyan company Honeycare Africa Limited have signed a loan agreement worth $178,000 for strengthening the company’s Kenyan operation.

Honeycare is a socially responsible Kenyan small business that sells hives to local subsistence farmers and then buys their honey at guaranteed prices. The market Honeycare creates for locally produced honey increases incomes in rural areas with few economic opportunities, typically doubling local beekeepers’ income. Honeycare also provides training in beekeeping and equipment and technical support to the farmers, helping increase entrepreneurial values in local communities. Many of these farmers are women and earn less than $1 a day. To date, Honeycare has provided sustainable economic opportunities to more than 2,500 poor farmers in rural Kenya.

With the assistance of IFC’s Strengthening Grassroots Business Initiative, Honeycare intends to refurbish and upgrade its processing capacity to meet international standards, strengthen its management information systems, and increase its level of extension services to the beekeepers, collection centers, and distribution facilities. This will enable Honeycare to increase geographical coverage in Kenya, assist a larger farmer segment, and enter the export market.

Honeycare started its relationship with the World Bank Group in 2002 when it won a Development Marketplace Award.  The Development Marketplace is a competitive World Bank program to identify and support innovative grassroots development ideas that can be expanded or replicated elsewhere.

Strengthening Grassroots Business Initiative

Jointly with the World Bank, IFC has launched a new initiative to support efforts by poor, marginalized people to expand revenue-generating activities that bring them into the market economy.  This initiative can provide technical assistance or patient capital investments to strengthen organizations' access to markets, management capacity, and capital structure.  Recipients can be not-for-profit or for-profit.  The initial focus is to provide direct support to pilot projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  The initiative will also seek effective ways to reach a wide range of grassroots businesses and promote a wholesale approach to supporting this sector.  For more information, please visit

The mission of IFC ( is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.