President William Ruto and his US counterpart Joe Biden. [AFP]

Kenya’s electric mobility sector is among the beneficiaries of President William Ruto’s visit to the United States, with local firms bagging billions of shillings in cheap loans that is expected to increase adoption of electric vehicles in the country.

The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced a more than $250 million (Sh32.5 billion) new financing package for Kenya during President Ruto’s visit to the US, that includes investments to advance e-mobility in the country. The money also includes commitments to affordable student housing, digital connectivity and renewable energy.

The $250 million (Sh32.5 billion) includes a $10 million (Sh1.3 billion) cheap loan to Basigo, the firm that has been working with matatu sector players introduce electric buses on Kenyan roads. 

It also includes a $10 million (Sh1.3 billion) loan for Mogo Auto Kenya, which offers motor vehicle and motor cycle financing. 

DFC also said it has recently announced “a $10 million (Sh1.3 billion) loan to Roam Electric Ltd. to support the design and development of electric motorcycles and buses as well as charging stations for motorcycles and buses throughout Kenya”.

“The U.S. and Kenya have strong ties that include a robust relationship with the private sector,” DFC chief executive Scott Nathan said, adding that DFC planned to open a regional office in Nairobi.

“With this week’s announcements, DFC is doubling down on its commitments to Kenya’s development, with investments into energy, e-mobility, and infrastructure. DFC is also expanding its on-the-ground presence by opening an office to help us better pursue opportunities across the region.”

The money by DFC also includes a $51 million (Sh6.6 billion) loan to M-Kopa Kenya and a $500,000 (Sh65 million) technical assistance grant to Pezesha Africa Limited, which DFC said will help leverage data science, machine learning, and other advanced computing technologies to further develop its credit scoring algorithm, enhancing its sustainable lending practices to small businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The planned DFC Nairobi office will be at the U.S. Embassy, which Nathan said would support private sector development in Kenya and across Africa. 

The funds by DFC also include a $180 million commitment to Acorn Holdings Limited that will finance the construction and operation of new, affordable student rental housing in Nairobi and across Kenya. 

“With early-stage support from USAID and Prosper Africa and financing from DFC, this transaction will help address a critical need and is a strong example of the power of the whole-of-U.S.-Government support to the private sector as it pursues projects that deliver for the people of Kenya,” said DFC. 

It also includes “a $10 million (Sh1.3 billion) direct loan to Kenyan company Hewa Tele, which provides an affordable and regular supply of medical oxygen to healthcare facilities in Africa, and two rounds of equity investment totaling $4 million (Sh520 million) to Kasha Global, a Kenya-based e-commerce company that provides personal care, healthcare, and beauty products to low-income women in Kenya and Rwanda.”