International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, today extended a Kshs 8.3 billion ( US$100 million) loan to Equity Bank Group to lending to small and medium businesses, agricultural projects and women entrepreneurs in the region. 


The financing will support the growth of Equity Bank Group’s lending portfolio in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Rwanda. Equity Bank Group focuses on extending inclusive financial services especially to the underserved populations in the region.


“IFC’s credit line will enable Equity Bank Group to increase its lending program to small and medium enterprises and support agriculture and women-led projects in the region. Thanks to this new loan, we will build on our achievements, especially deepening financial inclusion in East Africa”, said Dr. James Mwangi, CEO of Equity Bank Group.


He added that a significant barrier to the growth of the SME sector, most of which are owned by women and the youth is access to affordable credit.“Financial exclusion arising from lack of credit access has been the limiting factor affecting potential in SMEs to grow their businesses. This loan facility will not only enable us to offer SMEs affordable credit, but will also stimulate them to focus on regional export markets and match their strategic growth plans with long term funding,” said Dr Mwangi. Through access to credit, SMEs, he said, are expected to expand their businesses, increase savings, and ultimately reduce unemployment.


From its origins as a microfinance bank in 2004, Equity Bank Group is now home to 7.5 million account holders making it the largest bank in the region by customer base. The bank has operations in Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Tanzania.


“Small and medium businesses, agribusiness and women entrepreneurs can catalyze growth in African economies, but they face challenges gaining access to finance”, said Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Director for East and Southern Africa. “IFC’s partnership with Equity Bank Group. will extend banking services to these underserved entrepreneurs, helping to build businesses and create jobs, both in Kenya and in East Africa as a whole.”


IFC’s investment and advisory services have teamed up with nine banks and one microfinance institution in Kenya, to help them sustainably and profitably increase business with small and medium enterprises. In fiscal year 2011 alone, IFC’s work with banks helped provide loans to 18,000 small and medium businesses in Africa.


In an effort to broaden financial access and deepen financial inclusion, Equity Bank has been rolling out agency banking in Kenya. These new channel is giving small businesses and rural enterpreneurs ease of access to financial services. Further, The Bank through Equity Group Foundation in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation has rolled out a 13 week financial literacy program dubbed Financial Knowledge for Africa (FiKA) that has so far benefited over 306,000 people and targets to train one million youth and women in Kenya.The programme is supporting the growth of SME’s as drivers of economic growth by empowering enterpreneurs with knowledge to better manage their businesses.


Equity Bank has been recognised for its work in Microfinance and lending to the SME sector. In 2011, the Bank was named by the Africa Investor as the Best Initiative in Support of SMEs and the Millenium Development Goals. In the same year, the Bank was the only financial services provider named by the World Economic Forum as one of the New Global Sustainability Champions in emerging markets including India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Russia.

Related stories

Equity Bank Uganda marks 10-year anniversary with a move to a state-of-the-art head office in Church House

Equity Bank Uganda has moved its Head Office to the ultramodern Church house building on 34 Kampala...

View More
Equity Bank Unveils Its Digital Banking Solutions

The Eazzy Banking suite of products includes a banking app known as EazzyBanking App which allows...

View More
EIB signs Kshs 10.45 billion support for East African entrepreneurs

The EIB is committed to supporting Kenyan Banks in providing credit to the young and growing...

View More
Equity Bank’s differentiated strategy results in growth of the Bank’s size to nearly half a trillion on the backdrop of a challenging operating environment

The Group’s profit before tax grew to KShs 24.9bn from KShs 24.0 bn with the regional subsidiaries...

View More
Equity Group secures its shareholders nod for a Kshs 20 billion pan African expansion bid

The approvals, which were secured during the firm’s 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held today...

View More
Equity's Partnership With Kyamuhunga Uplifts Tea Farmers

The factory, commissioned by Uganda’s President, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has so far exported...

View More
Equity Bank Unveils MVNO strategy and rollout plan

Equity Bank today unveiled its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) strategy and rollout plan...

View More
Equity Bank profit before tax up 21 percent in first quarter 2013

The Group posted a profit before tax of Kshs 4.52 billion up from Kshs 3.73 billion posted during a...

View More
Equity Bank's Strategy Increases Profits by 36 percent

The Group’s total assets posted a 24% growth during the year to close at Ksh 243 billion up from...

View More
MasterCard and Equity Bank Announce Partnership to Introduce PayPass™ Enabled Cards

Partnership to increase financial inclusion and boost EMV migration efforts in the region.

View More
Orange launches Visa card in partnership with Equity Bank

Orange launches Visa card in partnership with Equity Bank.

View More
Equity Bank CEO joins Global Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition

Equity Bank Group CEO, Dr. James Mwangi has joined the Global Alliance for Food Security and...

View More
21 Equity Bank Scholars receive scholarships to study in world leading universities in 2012

21 scholars in the Equity Bank university sponsorship program have so far received scholarships in...

View More
Equity Bank profit before tax grows by 29%

During the period under review, Equity Bank Group’s loan book grew by 27% from Kshs 97.7 billion...

View More
250 Top KCSE scholars to benefit from Equity Bank's university sponsorship programme

Two hundred and fifty top performers in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education are...

View More
Purchase for Progress November Update Access to Finance

This issue focuses on access to finance. It includes two articles from the field (Kenya and El...

View More
Equity Uganda officially unveils a new brand identity aimed at charting sustainable growth.

Equity will now present itself as a unified brand with a consolidated business model for its...

View More
Equity Bolsters its Support to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda & DRC with USD 75 Million (Kshs 8.25 Billion) Women Guarantee Fund with African Guarantee Fund (AGF)

The African Guarantee Fund (AGF) and Equity Group Holdings Plc have signed an agreement which will...

View More
United Nations Uganda and Equity Bank Uganda establish new partnerships for acceleration of attainment of the SDGs

The new partnership will promote social inclusion and improve economic outcomes for human...

View More
Equity Bank Uganda Donates 2,000 Mosquito Nets Worth UGX 40 million for Market Vendors Towards the Fight against COVID-19

This contribution is in addition to what the Bank had previously donated to the COVID-19 task force...

View More
Service finder
Equity Bank is Regulated by Bank of Uganda