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Equity to review unit

BUSINESS
By Bloomberg | August 29th 2019
Finserve Africa Managing Director Jack Ngare.[James Wanzala,Standard]

Equity Group Holdings Plc is weighing whether to keep its financial-technology unit as a separate business after a top executive quit.

This adds to the loss of Finserve Africa Ltd’s head less than a month earlier, according to people familiar with the matter.

Kenya's biggest bank by market capitalisation is considering running Finserve as a division, less than a year after launching it as an independent subsidiary, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details aren’t public.

The review, which may include other options, also comes as it looks increasingly unlikely that Finserve will meet a target of generating $22 million (Sh2.2 billion) of revenue in its first year, they said.

Better capitalise

The potential strategic shift follows the resignation of Finserve Africa’s executive director of strategic execution, Eric Karobia, who this week joined Airtel Africa Plc‘s Uganda unit, where he is director of Airtel Money, a spokeswoman for Kampala-based Airtel Uganda said yesterday.

His departure comes after Microsoft Corp announced August 6 that former Finserve Managing Director Jack Ngare (pictured) will be heading its African development centre in Nairobi.

Having Finserve closer to the bank may help the lender better capitalise on a venture it started in May with the country’s largest mobile-network operator, Safaricom Plc, the people said.

Equity Group expects to lend as much as Sh420 million ($4.2 million) through the partnership by targeting small businesses.

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