The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has announced a Sh5.4 billion loan ($50 million) to Equity Bank Kenya to help it increase working capital and trade-related lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which have been affected heavily by the pandemic.
The loan, which will ultimately support hundreds of Kenyan businesses in the manufacturing, health, trade, transport, and consumer goods sectors, is part of IFC’s global $8 billion fast-track COVID-19 facility, announced in March and designed to help businesses maintain operations and jobs during—and after—the COVID-19 crisis.
“IFC’s loan, part of our business continuity management plan, will help Equity Bank extend much-needed support to our clients, particularly to SMEs in sectors hit hard by Covid-19,” Equity Group chief executive James Mwangi said in a statement on Wednesday.
“I call on customers looking to seize emerging opportunities in the health and medical sectors to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) or support the logistics of the entire ecosystems and value chain to take advantage of the $50 million facility,” he added.
The current debt raises the total debt Equity has borrowed from the global financier to Sh22.7 billion up from a cumulative Sh17.4 billion as of December 2019.
IFC’s portfolio in Kenya stood at $884 million as of June 30, 2020, with investments supporting growth and jobs in the financial, manufacturing, agribusiness, services, infrastructure, and other sectors. IFC remains committed to scaling investment and advisory support in Kenya, especially within the context of Kenya’s Big Four Agenda of manufacturing, affordable housing, affordable healthcare, and food security.
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