Equity Bank is positioning itself to gain from increased business in the Democratic Republic of Congo after presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC signed a bilateral agreement in April.
The lender, which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, is boosting its business and market share in the DRC by funding and facilitating payments for the expected increased number of investors and traders between the two countries.
A Kenyan trade delegation comprising members from both government and private sector visited DRC last week to explore opportunities.
Equity, which holds over $8.92 billion in assets, has mobilised close to $4.46 billion to fund businesses in countries where it has a presence such as DRC, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and Kenya.
“Working together with the governments of DRC and Kenya, we have successfully brought together 253 investors, entrepreneurs and business representatives who are today gathered here to witness a historic day where Kenyans and the Congolese people intentionally collaborate to grow business and investment opportunities,” said James Mwangi, the Group’s chief executive at the launch of the Kenya-DRC Trade Mission in Kinshasa on December 3.
“Our commitment as a Group is to complement efforts from the government by availing solutions ranging from financing, saving and money remittance through Equity Bank Kenya and EquityBCDC.”
In addition to minerals, the country has a vibrant agricultural, cosmetics, textiles sectors and the service industry.
“This is an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to match with other businesses like theirs in Kenya,” said Jean Lucien Bussa, Congolese minister of Foreign Affairs. “DRC is happy to work with Kenya and our local small and medium-sized enterprises have an opportunity to create market linkages with Kenyan businesses.”
The Kenya-DRC Trade mission was opened on December 3 by DRC’s Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Environment Eve Bazaiba.
The mission includes a 15-day visit to DRC between November 29 and December 13 in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Goma, and Mbuji Mayi.
“As the government we are encouraging Kenyan SMEs to consider the DRC as a market for regional expansion. Kenya and the DRC already have existing trade relations and this trade mission will further enhance pairing Kenyan entrepreneurs to DRC businesses,” said Betty Maina, Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary in the ministry of Trade, Industrialization and Enterprise Development.
Equity Group Holdings Ltd (EGHL) , in collaboration with 37 UN agencies and development financial institutions(DFIs) have developed a grand plan to accelerate economic recovery in the East and Central African region adversely impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic through a private sector- driven ‘ Economic Stimulus’ program.
The Marshall Plan, aims to support economic revival in South Sudan, DRC, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda in which the lender has presence.
The Bank is target lending to Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in key sectors of the economy including manufacturing, agro-processing, Education, low-cost building and construction materials and the retail and whole sale trade sectors which are considered catalysts for economic rebound.
The program is targeting to create up to 25 million direct and indirect jobs by lending to five (5) million businesses, with each receiving about $893