British International Investment
10 March 2021

Equity enhances its support to MSMEs by signing a $100 million credit facility with leading European development banks

We’re pleased to share the below announcement of a new loan facility prepared by our partners, Equity Group Holdings.

  • The facility is syndicated between DEG of Germany, CDC Group of the United Kingdom and FMO of the Netherlands
  • Deal will support Equity to continue lending to MSMEs to bolster their resilience and growth during the COVID-19 environment and to foster job protection and sustainable economic opportunities

Equity Group Holdings Plc. has today signed a $100 million USD loan facility with Germany’s DEG, the UK’s CDC Group, and the Netherlands FMO in its continued commitment to walk with MSMEs to survive the pandemic, recover, repurpose and thrive during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Equity launched an offensive and defensive approach to support customers while innovating alongside MSMEs who are leveraging on the opportunities that have presented within the crisis.

The Group has also provided loan repayment accommodation and rescheduling for up to 45% of the customers whose cashflows were deemed likely to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In its third quarter 2020 results, Equity reported a 30% growth in its loan book to support customers who saw opportunities of green shoots and diversifications in the COVID-19 environment. Most of the new opportunities funded are in manufacturing of PPE, logistics, online businesses, agro-processing, fast moving consumer goods and agriculture value chains.

As development finance institutions DEG, CDC Group and FMO invest to support the social and economic development of countries across Africa. Supporting SMEs is a long-term priority particularly as the segment remains under-financed and in-need of patient capital. The partnership is testament to the Development Finance Institution (DFI) community’s strategy of working closely together to support more private sector businesses, scale impact and improve millions of livelihoods.

In making the announcement, Dr. James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings Plc. stated that: “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic started as a health crisis, which quickly became an economic and humanitarian crisis that has seen almost 40% of Kenyan small business owners affected by the great economic slowdown. Equity’s goal is to keep the lights of the economy on to sustain lives and livelihoods and facilitate the recovery of businesses as the economy begins to reopen. We value our long-term partnership with DEG, FMO and CDC. We thank them for partnering with us in our efforts to support MSMEs to stimulate the economy back to vibrance, and hence support lives and livelihoods through market optimization.”

Commenting on the transaction, Christiane Laibach, CEO of the DEG Management Board said, “DEG is delighted to realize a further financing for Equity Bank, together with our European partners CDC and FMO. Through our cooperation we are contributing to supplying local SMEs with credit, which is particularly important and in demand at present.”

“As an inclusive regional financial institution these facilities strengthen Equity’s position to further enhance the strength of MSMEs who key actors in value chains and ecosystems in the economy. By ensuring their survival and growth the MSMEs will continue to protect jobs, create more jobs and support lives and livelihoods in society,” said Dr. Mwangi.

Seema Dhanani, Head of Office & Coverage Director, CDC, Kenya: “We are delighted to partner with DEG and FMO to provide much-needed capital to support entrepreneurs and SMEs in Kenya. Equity is a natural partner for the DFI community with its mission to change people’s livelihoods through empowering entrepreneurs.

CDC has invested in Kenya for over 70 years and is committed to increasing the resilience of businesses, boosting inclusive growth and contributing to the country’s long-term economic recovery.”

Mr. Huib-Jan de Ruijter, Chief Investment Officer (a.i.) at FMO, said: “We are very happy to be able to support EBK in weathering the COVID-19 storm. EBK is Kenya’s most innovative and MSME oriented bank. The facility will be a lifeline for the ‘missing middle’, providing businesses with much needed capital, while supporting jobs and communities. The syndication with DEG and CDC shows the strength of DFI partnership and collaboration.’’

Jane Marriott, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, said: “The UK is fully committed to delivering a strong, resilient economic recovery from COVID-19 in Kenya. Through CDC, this UK support to Equity Bank will help Kenyan families and businesses to build back better, manage unexpected challenges and get back on their feet as soon as possible.”

This is the third tranche for Equity Group after having signed a $50 million USD loan facility with IFC in September and a $100 million USD from Proparco in October to fortify credit flows and liquidity to MSMEs.

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