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Uhuru family bank CBA seeks stake in broke DR Congo lender

Commercial Bank of Africa Centre in Upper Hill, Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE
Commercial Bank of Africa Centre in Upper Hill, Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE 

Kenya’s Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) has expressed interest in buying into a distressed bank in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to Bloomberg news service.

The CBA, which is associated with the family of President Uhuru Kenyatta, reportedly wrote to DRC’s central bank saying it was ready to participate in the re-capitalisation of Banque Internationale Pour l’Afrique au Congo (BIAC).

The lender was placed under statutory management on May 30 after failing to access new credit lines from the regulator. If the CBA bid is successful, it could make CBA Kenya’s second lender to enter the country after Equity Bank.

The DRC’s central bank has also received expressions of interest from other parties, according to Bloomberg.

Equity last year acquired a 79 per cent stake in ProCredit Bank Congo from German firm ProCredit (61 per cent), Belgian development finance institution BIO (six per cent) and Dutch fund DOEN (12 per cent).

Mineral resource-rich DRC has a population of about 70 million people, with the uptake of banking services standing at a paltry four per cent.

Gold, tin, and tungsten account for over 90 per cent of its exports.

Agriculture is also a major contributor to its $32.6 billion gross domestic product, employing an estimated 60 per cent of the labour force.

The DRC is a member of several African trade communities including the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

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