Capital Markets

Equity unveils Sh684bn war chest for Africa business resilience - VIDEO


Equity Bank branch on Muindi Mbingu Street in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Equity Group #ticker:EQTY has unveiled a Sh684 billion ($6 billion) war chest to lend to five million businesses in its Africa Covid-19 pandemic recovery and resilience plan.

The lender says it has internal capacity to lend Sh513.2 billion ($4.5 billion) supported by customer deposits and it has also partnered with development finance institutions which have provided Sh171 billion ($1.5 billion) to be on lent to small businesses.

Equity said the recovery plan will focus on businesses in agriculture, manufacturing and logistics.

Private sector players are having difficulty attracting loans post-Covid as lenders are risk-averse fearing huge industry non-performing loans which currently stand at 13.1 per cent of outstanding loans according to the latest data from Central Bank of Kenya.

CBK said credit to the private sector grew at a modest 8.6 per cent year-on-year to December 2021 despite greater demand for loans.

“Under the African recovery resilience plan we are targeting the productive sector and we will offer loans to five million businesses,” Group CEO James Mwangi said.

Equity has grown its asset base to over a trillion shilling through regional expansion and it reckons it can play a bigger role in facilitating trade and supply chain finance across East and Central Africa.

Last year the bank organized a delegation of 300 businesses to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) seeking to draw linkages between businessmen from the two countries.

The bank said 26 businesses that had expressed interest during the tour have returned to DRC and are setting up operations.

The lender said it was also keen on expanding its Kenyan footprint scaling up the businesses they are currently supporting and financing their supply chains.

Through Equity Afia, the bank says it has helped set up 54 clinics and is funding their upgrades to meet emerging health needs.

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