Equity Bank Kenya loaned out 6.5 billion shillings to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as at the first quarter of 2019, figures from the bank’s financials indicate.
The 6.5 billion shillings in loans is part of a 35.3 billion-shilling investment in social programs through the Equity Group Foundation (EGF).
As it currently stands, at least 44,111 MSMEs had accessed credit on top of receiving entrepreneurship training, setting the pace for job creation and economic growth.
According to the Equity Group’s Integrated Report 2018, efforts by the EGF are aimed at improving financial capability, individual and household financial security by connecting people at the end of the pyramid to expert financial education training as well as expanding access to financial services and products.
Figures from the lender show that as of 2019, EGF has trained 1,732,469 Kenyan women and youth in financial education.
These women and youth have subsequently been able to access 36 million shillings in credit and mobilized 2.4 million shillings in savings.
Apart from Kenya, EGF has scaled up its training to Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania under the Fanikisha Plus Project where over 53,000 youth and women were trained.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), MSMEs in both the informal and formal sector contribute over 80 percent of employment opportunities in the country.
Nonetheless, most enterprises still face a significant barrier in accessing credit with a lack of physical collateral.
The move by Equity bank to lend to the Small enterprises is despite the interest rate cap severely constraining the ability of banks to offer risk-adjusted pricing.