The African Guarantee Fund (AGF) and Equity Group have signed an agreement to provide Ksh. 8.25 billion ($75 million) in funding to four of Equity’s bank subsidiaries within the Group.
The funding is aimed at supporting Equity to scale up its lending activities to women-owned and managed SMEs in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. This will ensure women are able to access credit at affordable interest a time when its most needed.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr. James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group stated, “With this facility from African Guarantee Fund, whom we share a mission of supporting women MSMEs, we will be strongly positioned to continue to offer our customers particularly women in business access to funding at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact negatively on businesses. Women MSMEs are key players in driving livelihoods for the majority of families, communities and growth of the economy.”
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Equity launched an approach to support customers sustain themselves while innovating alongside MSMEs leveraging on the opportunities presented within the crisis. Most of the new opportunities funded were in manufacturing of PPE’s, logistics, online businesses, agro-processing, fast-moving consumer goods and agriculture value chains.
AGF Group CEO Jules Ngankam said, “Our partnership with Equity Group is of great significance to the economies of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC given our mutual focus on the SME sector which has massive potential to drive economic growth. This partnership will also foster sustainable development particularly for women-led/owned businesses who will be supported under our Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa initiative and green business who will be supported under our Green Guarantee Facility.”
This is the fifth fund agreement for Equity Group after signing a Ksh. 5.5 billion ($50 million) loan facility with IFC in September, a Ksh. 11.0 billion ($100 million) from Proparco in October last year. This year, Equity has signed a Ksh. 16.5 billion (EUR 125 million) loan facility with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and a Ksh. 11 billion ($100 million) Credit Facility with European development banks. These agreements further fortifies Equity’s credit flows and liquidity to MSMEs totaling Ksh. 52.25 Billion.