NCBA inks Sh6.75b deal with French firm to finance SMEs

NCBA Group MD, John Gachora and Regional Head of Proparco, East Africa, Audrey Maignan shake hands on USD 50m partnership deal as Ambassador of France to Kenya and Somalia H.E. Arnaud Suquet and NCBA Group Chairman, James Ndegwa look on at Serena Hotel, Nairobi. [Courtesy NCBA, Standard]

Women-led small and medium enterprises (SME’s) are set to benefit from a Sh6.5 million deal between NCBA Bank and Proparco, a French firm. The lender will offer up to 60 per cent of the funding to SMEs, mostly women-led businesses and 40 per cent towards green financing.

Speaking during the signing event in Nairobi, NCBA Group Managing Director John Gachora said the funding will boost the bank’s “Change The Story” sustainability agenda.

 “We are grateful to Proparco for coming on board and enabling us to meet our sustainability commitments. As NCBA, collaborative efforts and strategic partnerships are integral to the value that we deliver to all our stakeholders,” said Gachora.

“I believe that with this partnership, we will deepen our shared goals to fostering sustainable economic development and advancing the cause of green finance, women empowerment, and SME growth.” In 2023, NCBA launched its Change the Story platform anchored on five pillars and a set of 15 commitments. Among these commitments included mobilising Sh30 billion of green and sustainable financing, steering at least 30 per cent of procurement spend to women and youth plus promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Mr Gachora said NCBA‘s strategy is to distribute the amount through unsecured loans, procurement and working capital targeting women in manufacturing, agriculture and service industries.

Regional head of Proparco in East Africa Audrey Maignan said the French institution is working with the banking sector and its partners to build sustainable solutions in response to environmental and social challenges in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.

French ambassador to Kenya Arnoud Suquet noted that her country will continue supporting Kenyan SMEs who have so far enjoyed $1 billion (Sh135 billion) out of the $4 billion (Sh540 billion) allocated through chose Africa.

Additionally, NCBA launched an ambitious investment plan to expand its presence in Kenya, to better serve its SME and corporate clients while reducing inequality through financial inclusion.

Through the deal with Proparco, NCBA Group will enhance sectoral investments in agriculture and manufacturing as well as join the 2X Challenge, an initiative promoting women in entrepreneurship and SMEs.

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