Equity taps Sh5.4b IFC SMEs loans

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 00:00 |
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Lewis Njoka @LewisNjoka

Small and medium enterprises (SME) can now leverage a Sh5.4billion loan facility from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to Equity Bank for enterprise support on the back of Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, IFC said the loan to Equity Bank will increase working capital and trade-related lending activities to SME clients, especially those ravaged by Covid-19 related challenges.

The facility targets businesses in the manufacturing, health, trade, transport and consumer goods sectors, and is part of IFC’s global Sh864 billion ($8 billion) fast-track COVID-19 facility, announced in March.

Sectors hit hard

The deal is 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.

We have purposed to support and walk with them so that they can survive during this crisis, recover, and thrive after it,” said Equity Group CEO, James Mwangi.

“I call on customers looking to seize emerging opportunities in the health and medical sector to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) or support the logistics of the entire ecosystems and value chain to take advantage of the $50 million (Sh5b) facility,” he added.

Protect jobs

Mwangi’s sentiments were echoed by IFC Kenya Country manager, Manuel Moses who said the intervention would help protect jobs and businesses during the pandemic.

“IFC’s long-standing partnership with Equity Bank underscores our commitment to Kenya’s financial sector and wider economy, especially during these difficult economic times.

Keeping businesses solvent and protecting jobs are essential parts of IFC’s response to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19,” he said.

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