European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed two long-term credit facilities with Equity Holdings Group and Housing Finance
This is to support the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Tanzania, DRC, Uganda and Kenya.The Sh10.5 billion credit facility which will be channelled to SMEs through Equity Holdings and Housing Finance consists of Sh8.33 billion credit facility with Equity Holdings which will be disbursed through its subsidiaries in Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo
and Uganda; in addition to Sh5.59 billion available for onward lending to Equity Bank Kenya. According to EIB's Vice President, Pim van Ballekom, the credit facilities are in line with the European Union's support for Kenyan lenders in order to provide finance for SMEs. "Kenya is increasingly becoming a hub for the region on many levels and we as a bank must look at this from a very basic point of view: there is a young and growing population with enormous potential. You need to support that momentum," he said. James Mwangi, Equity Group Managing Director said, "with this facility, we will be in a position to support 1,000 regional companies with an average loan of nearly Sh10 million each, thus assisting develop local entrepreneurs to compete at regional level furthering integration and cross border trade." Meanwhile, EIB under the platform of its East and Central Africa Private Enterprise Finance facility signed a long-term credit facility deal of Sh2.22 billion with the House Finance Group. HFC Managing Director, Sam Waweru said, "this funding will be channelled towards financing the working capital and expansion of our growing SME customer base." Both financial institutions reinstated their commitments to ensuring SMEs' access loans. The facilities will be largely directed to SMEs in import and export businesses, including manufacturers in order to promote regional and international trade.