Ecobank Kenya Limited today announced a one-stop proposition for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and encouraged the investors to insure their businesses against various risks.
Among the SMEs solutions unveiled at a forum in Nairobi jointly sponsored by the Bank’s EcoInsurance Agency and its three insurance partners include SME loan products, inventory and distributorship finance, asset finance, short and medium term loans, cash or treasury bill-backed finance, contract LPO as well as asset finance facilities.
Speaking at the forum dubbed Embracing Innovation Strategies for Banks and Insurance Companies, Ecobank Kenya Ag. Head of Domestic Bank Mr. Sam Marima said that as a regulatory requirement, credit facilities need to be insured, hence they need to ease the process of compliance.
“Due to economies of scale, we are able to negotiate for better rates and additional benefits. Similarly, being the lender and a partner we are interested in ensuring business continuity in the unfortunate occurrence of claim,” Marima said.
The SME sector employs over 80 percent of the country and is currently receiving a lot of attention as it is seen as the solution to the low unemployment rate especially for the youth.
“Today, the SME sector constitutes a large portion of all businesses in the country, absorbs annually up to 50 per cent of new non-farm employment and contributes 30 percent of total employment and three percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.
In June this year, Ecobank Kenya launched its bancassurance arm – EcoInsurance Agency in partnership with Old Mutual, UAP and Saham Assurance representatives participating. He said the growth of the SMEs across the country has necessitated competition for a share of the business opportunities that come by from the SME industry.
“Besides, business can only flourish when there is a guarantee in the return on investments,” he noted. Other presenters at the forum included Mr. Victor Mbaabu, Senior Relationship Manager SME, Ecobank Kenya; Mr. Peter Kagia, Head of Corporate Distribution, Old Mutual; Mr. Patrick Mbariah, Business Development Manager, UAP and Mr. Andrew Munyi, General Manager – Marketing, Saham Assurance.
Kenya already has a robust insurance industry and the banking sector is an added advantage to the opportunities that SMEs can deduce from the relationships that have already been developed with the commercial banks.