Standard Chartered Bank has announced that it will commit Ksh. 100 billion (USD1 billion) in loans to companies that provide goods and services to help the fight against Covid-19. The loan facility will also be available to those planning to switch into making products that are in high demand to fight the global pandemic.

COVID-19 has created a medical crisis all over the world including in Kenya. As of today, the disease has afflicted 110 people in Kenya with 3 deaths being recorded.

Companies that are eligible to receive the loans include all those associated with helping tackle Covid-19, including manufacturers and distributors in the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare providers. These also include non-medical companies that have volunteered to add this capability to their manufacturing output. The products include ventilators, face masks, protective equipment, sanitisers and other consumables.

Simon Cooper, CEO of Corporate, Commercial & Institutional Banking at Standard Chartered, said: “Clearly there’s a cost for companies to switch into these hugely in-demand items, so it’s an area where we can potentially help them get these processes up and running more quickly; and at the same time, we want to make sure that existing manufacturers and service providers get the support they need.”

The bank intends to provide at least Ksh. 100 billion (USD 1 billion) of financing to those companies. This will be in the form of loans, import/export finance or the working capital facilities that they use for day-to-day business operations to help them tool up, and help existing manufacturers get their products to market.

Standard Chartered is also trying to identify companies that may wish to switch into or add anti-virus products to their output but haven’t indicated that they will do so at this stage. “Our industry teams are looking across our client base and, given our understanding of clients’ current manufacturing processes, we’re assessing which companies might want to consider adding these items to their production line,” Simon added.

All financing will be subject to companies having received regulatory approvals to manufacture the goods. The bank will continue to serve all of its clients during what is a challenging period for all companies, from small businesses to large multinationals.