Equity Group has signed a Ksh. 16.5 billion loan facility with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Union (EU) to support MSMEs. The loan facility was specifically chosen to be in in Kenya Shillings to eliminate the risk of foreign exchange.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Equity launched a system to support customers sustain themselves while innovating alongside MSMEs. Most of the new opportunities funded were in manufacturing of PPEs, logistics, online businesses, agro-processing, fast-moving consumer goods and agriculture value chains.

In announcing the latest loan facility, Dr. James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings stated, “Equity’s goal is to keep the lights of the economy on by ensuring firms and businesses remain open and sustain employment. This funding adds oxygen to the real economy through funding of enterprises under the Young Africa Works Program where Equity, Mastercard Foundation and the Government of Kenya are working to create 5 million jobs for women and youth through entrepreneurship over the next five years.”

Speaking on behalf of the European Investment Bank, Vice President Thomas Ostros said, “New EIB and EU support for leading Kenyan partner Equity Bank will help entrepreneurs, business and agricultural small holders across Kenya to access finance and better withstand the economic challenges and business uncertainties caused by COVID-19.”

Both European institutions will support Equity’s lending to MSMEs, which recognize that the COVID-19 outbreak has been a shock to Kenya’s MSMEs.

Dr. Mwangi added, “We value our long-term partnership with the EIB and the European Commission who have walked with us and our customers on our path for sustained human development for many years including their investment to scale our focus in agriculture through Kilimo Biashara. We thank them for supporting our efforts to strengthen the role of MSMEs to stimulate the economy back to prosperity, and hence support lives and livelihoods through market growth.”

Equity is collaborating with MSME support organizations such as the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), KAM, KEPSA and Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA).