The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has announced it has extended a $15 million loan to Guaranty Trust Bank (Kenya) Ltd for lending to local businesses in the country, making it the third bank to secure such a facility in Kenya since the beginning of this year.
Early this month, I&M Bank and Equity Bank received loans from IFC, which is part of IFC’s programme to support local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including those whose cash flows are disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, IFC said GT Bank Kenya, a subsidiary of the Guaranty Trust Group, will provide access to finance mainly to SMEs in the trade, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing sectors, among others, helping them retain and create jobs, and strengthen their operations.
IFC’s $15 million loan to GTBank Kenya is part of the $8 billion IFC Fast Track Covid-19 Facility launched in 2020. The facility is designed to support existing IFC clients in emerging markets affected by the economic fallout from Covid-19.
“The IFC loan will help the Bank meet the working capital and trade-related needs of businesses, especially SMEs that are part of our core clientele. These businesses were adversely affected by the pandemic and are now recovering and reviving as the economy opens up, therefore requiring the support of the Bank through access to credit,” said GTBank Kenya Managing Director Olabayo Veracruz.
“We hope to on-lend the facility to customers in the trade, FMCG, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical sectors primarily to fund working capital needs over the next year.”
Amena Arif, IFC Country Manager for Kenya, said, “Our partnership with GTBank Kenya will deliver funds to businesses, allowing them to emerge stronger from the Covid-19 crisis.”
Just this month, IFC said it will lend $165 million to Equity Bank Kenya Limited, in addition to acquiring a 6.7 percent stake in Equity Bank for $139 million, shares that were previously held by Britam.
“IFC is committed to supporting Kenya’s private sector, including strengthening its financial sector in order to help the country’s smaller businesses to access more financing,” Ms Arif said.
Pandemic-related disruptions caused Kenya’s real GDP to contract in 2020, with the country’s smaller businesses hit hard by supply chain disruptions and reduced economic activity. Although Kenya returned to pre-pandemic growth levels in 2021, this year is also proving challenging and smaller businesses still need added support to weather ongoing uncertainties.
IFC’s investment portfolio in Kenya stood at $940.1 million as of June 30, 2021 with most investments in the finance, manufacturing, agribusiness, and services sectors.