Equity set to spend Sh500bn on Kenya, South Africa businesses

James Mwangi

Equity Group Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Equity Group has set aside Sh500 billion to finance Kenyan and South African firms seeking to trade or invest in Africa, in a move to expand its business beyond seven countries where it operates.

The bank will offer credit to companies that want to set up manufacturing, construction, health and investment firms, facilitate value addition through processing and packaging and finance export or import business.

The lender will be tapping into about Sh500 billion funds out of which close to Sh100 billion will be from development institutions such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the rest from customers’ deposits.

The bank is eying the South African firms also to establish its presence in the market without setting up physical branches, and raising competition for other commercial banks such as Absa Bank #ticker:ABSA and Standard Bank.

“We have put into disposal of private sector and business community about Sh500 billion to facilitate trade. We will be funding Kenyan importers or South African firms that want to export into the regions we operate in or those that want to do partnership in the region. We are inviting them as new investors in the regions,” Equity Group chief executive James Mwangi said.

The bank is spearheading a four-day business networking meeting to spark interest for investment and joint ventures between firms in the regions.

Local banks including KCB Group #ticker:KCB, NCBA Group #ticker:NCBA, I&M Group #ticker:I&M and DTB Bank #ticker:DTK have been expanding its regional reach by setting up branches or acquisition in countries like Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Malawi, Botswana and DRC, moving competition beyond the Kenyan borders.