Lender signs Sh1.2b deal to finance small firms

SBM Bank Kenya CEO Moezz Mir together with African Guarantee Fund Group CEO Jules Ngankam sign the risk-sharing agreement. [File, Standard]

SBM Bank Kenya has signed a risk-sharing agreement with the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) amounting to 10 million dollars (Sh1.2 billion) to increase its financing of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs).

The facility unlocks opportunities for the MSMEs together with transactions in the green space and women-led enterprises to access credit on favourable terms, mitigating the challenges they experience in scaling up their businesses and increasing their contribution to wealth creation and job opportunities.

“Considering the financial hurdles experienced by most SMEs due to their risk profile and lack of security, SBM is always exploring innovative ways to mitigate possible risks in this sector and help SMEs overcome this challenge,’’ said SBM Bank Kenya chief executive Moezz Mir.

Mr Mir said the bank’s move to engage in such strategic alliances is aimed at realising its strategic objectives which are centred around transforming the SMEs sector, supporting women-led businesses, and offering sustainable finance to businesses that focus on clean energy, cleaner production, green services, and climate-smart agriculture and natural resource management.

“This facility is unique in several ways as it represents an investment, productivity, and the acceleration of growth opportunities and realization of the UN sustainable development goals.  As a progressive bank, we are deliberately playing a part in transforming the livelihoods of the Kenyan people by opening up markets for green businesses, accelerating wealth creation and improving the quality of life,” added Mr Mir.

African Guarantee Fund Group chief executive Jules Ngankam said that the partnership with SBM Bank will empower SMEs to play their pivotal role in economic development, innovation, and job creation in Kenya.

“This will equip SMEs with appropriate financial management capabilities and boost their credit threshold requirements,” said Mr Ngankam.

In the last few years, SBM has taken a prudent approach to SME empowerment especially for the post-pandemic period, in which business owners are trained on business sustainability, fundraising, bookkeeping, and networking to assure profitable operations through individualized propositions and products.

The partnership agreement between the two institutions is expected to impact hundreds of SMEs across the country in the next 5 years.