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World's largest micro-lender to set Africa base in Nairobi

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A screenshot of a Kiva microfinance website, which offer loans to budding entrepreneurs in developing countries.

A screenshot of a Kiva microfinance website, which offer loans to budding entrepreneurs in developing countries. 

By SIMON CIURI, sciuri@ke.nationmedia.com

Posted  Tuesday, April 9  2013 at  12:22

In Summary

  • The Kenyan office will be Kiva’s first outside the USA, a huge development for a non-profit organisation founded in 2005
  • The regional office will be based at the Business Centre at Strathmore University on April 17 this year.
  • The organisation mostly relies on grant from its 250,000 partners from 125 countries globally.
  • Kiva borrows its name from East Africa where its founders initially worked in Uganda and Kenya. In Uganda, Kiva is a colloquial word for unity.

Another partner identified by the name Komanza, helps the borrowers convert dry lands into productive and meaningful tree farms in the Eastern Kenya.

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In May 2011, Kiva began a new lending channel dubbed ‘’Kiva Green Loans’’ that target enterprises reducing energy consumption by coming up with new models of conserving waste and pollution by recycling used materials towards alleviating energy poverty and maintaining a healthy environment.

It is estimated that 1.5 billion people which is a quarter of the world’s population do not have access to electricity where the only source of energy comes from costly and polluting products like charcoal and kerosene.

Kiva started its operation with only five employees with a total of $ 3,500 in funded loans. Today, it boasts to a huge global community of 850,000 members giving out $1.5 million in loans per week.

Kiva borrows its name from East Africa where its founders initially worked in Uganda and Kenya. In Uganda, Kiva is a colloquial word for unity.

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