EIB Global and the Housing Finance Bank (HFB) of Uganda have partnered to supported SMES in Uganda to the tune of €50 million. EIB is a part of the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The investment will has a special gender focus with an aim to enhance women’s access to finance by reserving at least half of the investment funds to be allocated to businesses owned by women. Some of the sectors that will receive investment will include agriculture, health, manufacturing, transport, trade, education, renewable energy, and clean water.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, the EIB Head of the Regional Hub for East Africa, Edward Claessen, said: “Signing this partnership ahead of International Women’s Day celebrations in Uganda re-emphasises our continued strong support in the way of entrepreneurship and business development for all entrepreneurs, more so women. We are committed to support projects and investments that empower women worldwide and address the systemic gender inequality in accessing capital.”

Housing Finance Bank CEO, Michael Mugabi said, “Housing Finance Bank is keen on strategic partnerships with like-minded entities and the shared purpose to contribute to the socioeconomic development of Uganda through enabling micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) especially those owned by women is the pillar of this strategic partnership with EIB.”

“The Bank has a wide range of affordable solutions to drive this agenda which continues to form a significant part of our 2023- 2027 strategic plan. The new line of credit to HFB and a technical support grant will be used effectively to improve the capacity of women business and MSMEs in general,” he added.

Housing Finance Bank has previously worked with the EIB having signed an investment partnership of €13 million back in 2014 under the East and Central Africa Private Enterprise Finance Facility project.

HFB ranks as the 9th largest commercial bank in Uganda by asset size out of 25 commercial banks and focuses on consumer banking, business banking and housing finance. Currently, HFB operates through its head office and 18 branches with 9 branches in Kampala. The HFB customers who will be enlisted into the project will also benefit from technical assistance under the African Women Rising Initiative delivered by the EIB.

Apart from the partnership with HFB, entrepreneurs in Uganda also stand to benefit from the EIB’s SheInvest initiative launched in 2019, which commits to mobilise €2 billion of gender-responsive investment across Africa, focusing on empowering female-led businesses.